Anthony Johnson scored 34 of his career-high 42 points in the
second half, leading Montana back from a 22-point deficit and into
the NCAA tournament with a 66-65 win over Weber State on Wednesday
night in the Big Sky tournament championship.
Derek Selvig added 12 points and Brian Qvale pulled down 14
rebounds for the Grizzlies (22-9), who will return to the NCAA
tournament for the first time since last winning the Big Sky in
After committing 14 turnovers in the first half, Montana had
just six in the second, slowly chipping away until Johnson hit what
turned out to be the winning shot, a short jumper with 10 seconds
Damian Lillard scored 16 to lead top-seeded Weber State (20-10),
which led 40-20 at halftime.
Johnson scored Montana’s last 21 points, taking over after
Selvig got Montana within 51-45 on a reverse layup with about 10:30
left to play.
Johnson finished 13 for 22 and made all 14 of his foul shots,
breaking his previous career high by 10 points despite playing the
last several minutes with four fouls. The Wildcats knew who was
going to take the shots for Montana, but still couldn’t stop
Johnson – and couldn’t shoot in the second half, going 7 for
Franklin Session had 10 points for Weber State, but missed seven
of his 12 foul shots. He missed twice from the line with 28 seconds
left and Weber State up 65-64, allowing Johnson to make the
game-winner on the next possession.
After Johnson’s shot, Montana’s Will Cherry tied up Lillard and
forced a jump ball with 2.6 seconds left, giving possession back to
the Grizzlies. Selvig missed his first free throw with 2.1 seconds,
then clanged the second off the rim and Weber State didn’t have
enough time to get the ball back up court for another shot.
Weber State was hosting the semifinals and championship after
winning the Big Sky regular season for the second straight year,
but fell short again of returning the NCAA tournament.
Johnson broke the tournament record of 39 points, set by Mike
O’Quinn of Cal State Northridge against Eastern Washington in 1998