RENO, Nev. (AP) — Arkadiy Mkrtychyan had 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, Victor Sanders scored 19 more, including five in the last 1:33, and No. 5 seed Idaho beat Montana 81-77 on Thursday in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Brayon Blake had 12 points while Pat Ingram and Nate Sherwood scored 10 apiece for Idaho (18-12), which will play top-seeded North Dakota in the semifinals Friday.
Walter Wright's jumper with 2:21 to play gave No. 4 seed Montana its first lead since 16-15. Sherwood and Wright traded free throws to make it 74-73, but Sanders hit a contested jumper and then a baseline runner as the shot clock expired to give the Vandals a three-point lead with 48 seconds remaining. Fabijan Krslovic made a pair of foul shots 15 seconds later to make it 77-76 but the Grizzlies missed their last three shots, and Idaho made 4 of 6 free throws, from there to seal it.
Wright scored 22 points and Ahmaad Rorie added 16 from Montana (16-16).
Idaho led by 13 in the first half and 50-41 early in the second, but back-to-back 3s by Jack Lopez and Rorie capped a 20-9 spurt that made it 61-all with 8:22 to go.