MISSOULA — It's been a bumpy road of late for the Montana men's basketball team over the last week.
The Grizzlies dropped two of their last three games coming into Saturday evening's contest against Portland State, but again UM found its footing and bounced back for a needed win as the Griz beat the Vikings 85-76 at Dahlberg Arena.
The Grizzlies improved to 17-9 overall and 10-5 in Big Sky Conference play while Portland State — winners of four straight before playing the Montana schools — dropped to 8-15 and 6-9 in league play. The win was also eighth-year head coach Travis DeCuire's 159th at Montana which puts him solely in second place for all-time wins, passing former Griz legend Wayne Tinkle who had 158 wins in eight years as head coach of the Griz.
Robby Beasley III buried six 3-pointers en route to finishing with a game-high 24 points while Josh Bannan added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Grizzlies. Brandon Whitney added 14 points while Lonnell Martin Jr. finished with 12 points, all on threes, and added seven boards.
Beasley and Cameron Parker led UM with five assists each.
The Grizzlies started out on a 17-4 lead just over five minutes into the game, but the Vikings clawed their way back into the game. The Vikings briefly grabbed a lead halfway through the second half before Kyle Owens' layup with 8:07 left made it 59-58 UM and the Grizzlies never trailed again.
Montana overcame 22 turnovers on Saturday but had `19 assists. The Grizzlies shot the ball at a 57.4% clip and went 11 for 16 from deep and 20 for 23 from the free throw line. Portland State shot at a 38.2% rate from the field and went 2 for 12 from deep and 32 for 38 from the free throw line. UM also out-rebounded PSU 38 to 20.
Montana is at Idaho (6-18, 3-11) on Thursday in its next game.