BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — When Montana leading scorer Will Cherry left the game early in the second half Saturday with foul trouble, Montana State was ready to pounce. But Kareem Jamar had other plans.
With the Grizzlies clinging to a 37-34 lead when Cherry exited, Jamar scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in a 12-2 Montana run en route to a 67-58 victory over intrastate rival Montana State.
"We had them in foul trouble; that was our opportunity," MSU coach Brad Huse said. "We made a run at them, but they held us off."
Derek Selvig added 15 points for Montana (16-6, 9-1 Big Sky), which has won 11 of its past 12 games. Cherry, who finished with 11, liked what he saw from the bench as Jamar scored 15 points in the second half.
"He was breaking it down, he was scoring, he was defending," Cherry said of his sophomore teammate.
The Bobcats (11-11, 6-5) got within 56-53 on a 3-pointer by Christian Moon with 4:31 to play.
"That was a big 3 that cut it to three," Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said. "But our guys weren't going to let it slip away."
Selvig responded for Montana by sandwiching two 3-pointers around a basket by MSU's Mohammed Fall to make it 62-55 and end the Bobcats' run in front of a season-high crowd of 6,018.
"It was a big win in a very hostile environment," Tinkle said. "We challenged some guys to step up in Will's absence, mainly Kareem. We got after him at halftime."
Jourdain Allou led MSU with 15 points and Tre Johnson added 11.
With the win, the Grizzlies stayed a half-game behind Weber State for first place in the conference.
"We've got a group that believes," Tinkle said. "They come with their hard hats and lunch pails every day."