Montana State Bobcats hold off Montana Grizzlies to earn 1st win in Missoula since 2010

MISSOULA — Montana State scored the final five points of the game at the free throw line to escape with a 67-64 win over Montana in Missoula for the first time since 2010 Saturday.

Darius Brown made two of those free throws to push the lead to 67-64 on his way to a game-high 23 points. RaeQuan Battle made all three after being fouled to put the Cats ahead 65-64 as he totaled 18 points in front of an announced crowd of 6,374 fans.

Griz guard Aanen Moody scored 19 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, but his floater in the lane and 3-point shot on UM’s final two possessions were off the mark. Brandon Whitney added 17 points and Dischon Thomas chipped in 14.

The Cats improved to 13-8 overall, 6-2 in the Big Sky. The Griz dropped to 9-11, 3-5.

The Cats shot 51.1% from the field and had a 36-24 edge in the paint after going for a blistering 64% in the first half as they built a 35-29 halftime lead. The Griz shot 44.9% for the game and were 6 of 17 on 3-pointers compared to MSU’s two makes.

Both teams went with taller starting lineups than usual, and the Cats scored six of their first eight points in the paint as they jumped up 8-7. The teams went to more of their typical lineups after the first media timeout, but the Cats kept getting the ball inside and playing physically as they scored 12 of their first 14 points down low while building a 14-11 lead.

The Griz claimed their first lead at 19-18 when Lonnell Martin Jr. hit a 3-pointer and Brandon Whitney converted a