College Basketball Nation: Montana

Behind the box scores: Saturday's games

February, 19, 2012
2/19/12
8:27
AM ET
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Saturday:

Note of the Day
Sixteen players had 10 or more assists Saturday, six more players than on any other day this season.

Oklahoma State 90, Texas 78
Oklahoma State’s Keiton Page made all 20 of his free-throw attempts as part of a career-high 40 points. The 20 free throws without a miss match the most by any player since the start of the 1996-97 season. As a team, Oklahoma State made 43 free throws, matching the most by any team this season (Colorado State on Nov. 22).

Northwestern State 100, Campbell 86
Like Page, Northwestern State’s William Mosley attempted 20 free throws on Saturday; unlike Page, Mosley made just five of his 20. No player since the start of the 1996-97 season had missed 15 free throws in a game before Mosley did it in Saturday’s win. There were 93 free throws attempted in this game by both teams combined, most in a game this season.

Montana 94, Hawaii 79
Montana sophomore Kareem Jamar had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the win, the first triple-double of his career. The 21 points match the third-highest total of his career, the 11 rebounds are the second most he’s had in a game, and the 11 assists are four more than his previous career high.

Washington State 72, Arizona State 50
Arizona State finished with 50 points despite scoring only eight points in the first half. They are the second team this season to score fewer than 10 points in the first half and still score at least 50 for the game. Eastern Michigan scored nine in the first half of a 71-50 loss to Virginia Tech on Dec. 22.

Virginia 71, Maryland 44
UVA won by 27 points despite being tied at halftime, matching the largest margin of victory by a team trailing or tied at halftime against a Division I opponent this season. Hawaii trailed South Carolina State by one at the half in a 27-point win on Dec. 29.

Marshall 73, SMU 68
SMU scored 54 points in the second half after scoring 14 in the first half. In their previous game, the Mustangs scored just 28 points.

South Alabama 66, Western Kentucky 61
South Alabama’s Javier Carter had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks off the bench in the Jaguars’ win. The eight blocks are the most by a bench player this season.

Montana's Anthony Johnson introduces himself

March, 11, 2010
3/11/10
1:39
AM ET
Montana guard Anthony Johnson had the game of his life, scoring 42 points in the Big Sky title game to upset Weber State 66-65 and send the Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament.

"Right now, I'm kind of confused," the senior told reporters. "Kind of surreal. I feel like I'm dreaming, to be honest. I'll end up watching it on TV when I get home."

Savor the memories, Anthony. The junior college transfer has quite a back story considering his wife on the Montana women's basketball team, Shaunte, essentially rescued his career.

Here's how the Billings Gazette saw Johnson's big night:
Johnson put Montana on his back, scoring a championship record 42 points -- including a whopping 34 in the second half -- to will UM past Weber State by one point in the league title game and into the NCAA tournament.

A.J. scored Montana's last 21 points. Think about that for a minute.

Afterward, Montana coach Wayne Tinkle was asked if this was the best single-game performance he's ever seen, and that had him mentioning his own wife.

"Have to say yes, with the exception of a couple of my wife's games in college," Tinkle told reporters.

The former Lisa McLeod, who starred at Montana, has NCAA tournament experience. Tinkle also was an assistant coach with the Grizzlies when they upset fifth-seeded Nevada in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2006.

Along with Johnson, they'll all be dancing tonight.
Saddle Up is our daily preview of the day's best basketball action. We're officially into that oh-so-awesome part of the season when a healthy portion of your daily hoops regimen will be happening during the day, necessitating Saddle Up's move to the morning. So let's do this.

Because trying to Saddle Up for every specific game on today's raucous conference tournament slate seems somewhat foolish (if not downright impossible) let's instead highlight five numbers, concepts or jargon you should watch out for in the next, oh, 16 hours or so. We'll cover every single game tomorrow, when the task is especially Sisyphean. More fun that way, right?

Special note: I'll be chatting the entire day starting at 12 p.m., alongside Brett, Diamond, and a whole batch of the college hoops faces you know and love. Join us, won't you?

OK, onto the things:

1. Big East bubble madness! The best conference in all the land features at least three teams sitting soundly on the bubble entering today's games -- Seton Hall (probably out), South Florida (probably out) and Notre Dame (probably in). South Florida has the best chance of all three to make an impression on the committee with its second-round game against No. 22 Georgetown. The Hoyas are still a ranked, talented team, but one that's very susceptible to upset, and the Bulls have the confidence of knowing they can beat John Thompson III's team anywhere in the country. (Thanks to Dominique Jones' 29 points and eight rebounds, the Bulls beat Georgetown at the Verizon Center on Feb. 3.)

South Florida's bubble standing will have a lot to do with how Seton Hall -- first-round survivors of one of the craziest games you'll ever see -- fares against Notre Dame. The Pirates have played themselves back into the tournament conversation in recent weeks; beating a hot Notre Dame team in the midst of its own late-season tournament run would be a nice little boost. One of the worst in the conference on the defensive end, Seton Hall will have to either find a way to stop Notre Dame's league-leading points-per-possession numbers ... or do its best to keep pace. Either way, both games should be entertaining. (And South Florida-Georgetown tips in a few minutes. Get that ESPN360 loaded!) Oh, and don't forget about Cincinnati, which could use a win over Louisville and then some to get back into bubbleland.

2. Big 12 bubble sadness! The Big East is full of bubble and seeding implications. The Big 12? Not so much. Joe Lunardi currently lists the Big 12's top seven seeds -- Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma State -- as locks for the tournament. The remaining five teams -- Colorado, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Nebraska -- aren't at all on the bubble. It would take a momentous run by any of those five to mean something for bubble purposes. Do any of them have what it takes? Eh. Doubtful. But funny things happen in tournaments, and if any of the bottom five have a chance at a run, we'll seed the seeds of that run in today's first four games.

3. It ain't easy being Northeast. Without getting too fatalist, a word of advice for the Northeast conference tournament winner, which will be either Robert Morris or Quinnipiac: Live it up. The Northeast champion would do well to enjoy tonight's celebration, because being in the NCAA tournament and being from the NEC has for 28 years meant one thing: a first-round tournament loss. Yes, the NEC has been in the tourney for almost three decades now, but the entrant has never won a first-round tournament game, according to the uber-helpful folks from ESPN research. If No. 1 seed Quinnipiac finishes the job, the Bobcats will have won the NEC and made the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. And it'll be the first school to start with the letter Q to ever play in the Big Dance. Triple the party! Could a first NCAA tournament win be all that far behind?

4. The Pac-1? Or 2? Consensus on the Pac-10 has remained relatively stable since, oh, November: This is a one-bid league. Arizona State and Washington have both crept closer and closer to the tournament in the last few weeks, but both are still on the outside looking in; Mike Montgomery's Cal team is the lone at-large inclusion. That said, if either team can force its way through the first few rounds of the Pac-10 tournament -- or, obviously, win it -- they could potentially turn the Pac-10 into a two-big league with an option for three. Bad news for bubble teams. Good news for the west coast's most prominent, and most disappointing, conference.

Which is all a long way of saying that the Pac-10 tournament starts today, officially, with one totally forgettable game: Washington State-Oregon. There is a slight bit of drama here, though, regarding Oregon coach Ernie Kent's job. Yesterday, Kent told his players he'll be out as coach after the season is over. Will the Ducks win one (or, preferably for Ernie, three) for the Gipper? Or will they, like so many other teams faced with obvious coaching turmoil, fold in and end the season on a dour note?

5. The big country. Clean air and kitchens full of food aren't the only reason to turn your attentions westward today. No, there's a rather intriguing conference tournament match up on hand -- Weber State vs. Montana -- the winner of which will represent the Big Sky conference in the NCAA tournament. Both are familiar names; the Wildcats and the Grizzlies share the most conference tournament titles in league history, and today's game will mark the fifth time the two have met to decide the title. Look out for Weber State sophomore guard Damian Lillard, the purest scorer you've never heard of.

SPONSORED HEADLINES