BOISE (ABC4 Sports) – For the second straight year, the Weber State basketball team loses a heartbreaker to Montana State in the Big Sky Tournament Semfinals.
RaeQuan Battle scored 17 points and his dunk off a lob from Darius Brown II with 1.6 seconds left in the second overtime lifted Montana State past Weber State 60-58 Tuesday night in a Big Sky Conference semifinal matchup.
Battle then blocked Steven Verplancken’s shot attempt as time expired.
“Our team was locked defensively all night and completed on every possession,” said first year Weber State head coach Eric Duft. “Montana State just made one more play than we did. Things didn’t go well on offense but it didn’t stop us from competing. I couldn’t be more proud of our group and what we accomplished.”
The Bobcats (24-9) will face upstart Northern Arizona Wednesday night for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Montana State is playing in the conference final for a third-straight season.
The game saw 15 ties and 17 lead changes and neither team led by more than six points.
Both teams struggled offensively, failing to reach the 50-point mark in regulation. Tied at 48 after the first 40 minutes, both teams scored four points in the first overtime period, with Brown missing a last-second shot opportunity.
Ballard gave the Bobcats a 57-54 lead in the second overtime with his third 3-pointer of the game. Junior Ballard tied the score on a driving layup with 2:23 left.
Neither team scored another point until Battle’s dramatic dunk with 1.6 seconds left.
Dillon Jones scored 18 points on 5-of-22 shooting for Weber State (18-15) and Verplancken 14. KJ Cunningham had nine point off the bench.
Weber State shot just 34.5 percent from the field, while Montana State made 35.6 percent of its shots. The Wildcats made only 3 of 18 three-point attempts for the game.
Great Osobor scored 16 points for Montana State, Jubrile Belo scored 12 shooting 12 for 16 from the foul line and Brown grabbed 11 rebounds, distributed six assists and didn’t commit a turnover.
Weber State is now 18-15 overall. The Wildcats will wait to see if they receive an invitation to a postseason tournament.