Nate Holmstadt had 15 of his 19 points in the second half as Montana State snapped a six-game losing streak by beating Montana 68-60 in the opening round of the Big Sky Conference tournament Thursday night.
Danny Sprinkle and Jamie Hooper made 3-pointers as the Bobcats (18-10) pulled away from a 52-52 tie with 3:50 to play, and two layuups by Damon Ollie sent them to a 62-55 lead with 1:40 remaining.Hooper also had an assist, a steal and four free throws in the final 1:11.
Ollie had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats. Mat Seidensticker had 15 points for the Grizzlies (16-14) and Mike War-hank had 14.
Montana, which won the tournament last year, split with the Bobcats this season but had the fourth seed after beating them 72-66 last week. It was the second straight year the defending champion was knocked out in the first round.
Montana State won the tournament in 1996 but bowed out on opening night in 1997.
Weber State, the tournament's No. 2 seed, will play Montana State tonight at 6:30 p.m.
CS-NORTHRIDGE 104, E. WASHINGTON 98: Mike O'Quinn had nine of his Big Sky Conference tournament-record 39 points in overtime, and Cal State Northridge continued its upset tradition by beating Eastern Washington 104-98 Thursday night.
Lucky Grundy made six free throws for Northridge (12-15) in the final 42 seconds to ensure the upset of Eastern (16-11), which had won seven of its last eight.
Last year, the Matadors were the sixth seed and ousted Montana State and Northern Arizona to reach the final. They came in seeded sixth again to No. 3 for the Eagles, who were in the tournament for the first time in eight years.
Carl Holmes had 12 of his 15 points after halftime for Northridge, and Brian Heinle scored 14.
Shannon Taylor and Karim Scott had 28 points each for the Eagles, Deon Williams scored 17 and Chris White 13.