Will Cherry scored  24 points in a game devoid of defense as the Montana men's basketball team edged Portland State 85-84 Thursday night in a crucial Big Sky Conference game at PSU's Stott Center.

The win moves Montana to 12-3 in conference (20-8 overall) and keeps the team in first place in the Big Sky with a game left to play Saturday at Eastern Washington (5-9, 8-19). A win in Washington likely clinches the conference for the Griz over Northern Colorado (10-3) which still has three Big Sky games left.

The Grizzlies and Bears split two games this season, each winning at home, and have lost to the same opponents. If the teams' seasons end with identical conference records, Montana holds a slight edge in the third tie breaker of RPI (113 to 121).

Against Portland State, Cherry netted two crucial free throws with eight seconds left to put the Griz up 85-81. The guard added 10 assists. Center Brian Qvale recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Portland State forward Chehales Tapscott scored 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting for the Vikings.

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