Big Sky ConferenceMontana Grizzlies


Montana Grizzlies end season with loss to Arkansas State

Josh Vazquez
Posted at 2:44 PM, Mar 25, 2024

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Montana couldn't overcome a rough first half in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational, ending its men's basketball season with a 74-61 loss to Arkansas State on Monday at the Ocean Center.

The Grizzlies and Red Wolves were tied 13-13 nine minutes into the game after two Brandon Whitney free throws, but Arkansas State scored the game's next 12 points as part of a 17-2 run. The Red Wolves went on to lead 42-23 at halftime, as the Griz made just 8 of 21 field goals in the first half and turned the ball over 12 times.

Arkansas State, meanwhile, had only three turnovers, as well as 11 offensive rebounds, to be able to get up 39 shots in the first half.

The Red Wolves pushed their advantage to as many as 21 points early in the second half and still led 55-37 with 12 minutes to play before the Griz started to chip away. Chase Henderson scored five quick points, Laolu Oke hit a jumper and Te'Jon Sawyer made a 3-pointer as part of a 10-2 burst to get Montana back within 57-47 with 7:39 remaining.

The Griz trailed by just seven points, 62-55, after an Aanen Moody jumper with 4:05 to go, but they had no answer for Arkansas State's Izaiyah Nelson down the stretch. Nelson finished with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end.

Oke led Montana with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Josh Vazquez added 12 points for the Griz, while Henderson and Sawyer each had nine.

Montana ends its season with a 24-12 overall record.