Montana St. beats top-seed Weber St. 70-61

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(AP Photo/Colin Braley)

OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Branden Johnson made four 3-pointers while scoring 16 points as Montana State upset top-seeded Weber State 70-61 in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals on Tuesday night.

The Bobcats (14-16) were the only conference team to beat Weber State (21-9) during the regular season and did it again on the Wildcats' home court to advance to the Big Sky championship game for the first time since 1999.

Montana State plays defending champion Portland State on Wednesday for the conference's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

Divaldo Mbunga added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost the last five games of the regular season but have won two in a row in the conference tournament.

Kellen McCoy led Weber State with 16 points. The Wildcats shot 33 percent in the game and were just 4-for-26 from 3-point range.

Trevor Morris had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.

Weber State led by 10 early in the first half, but could not hold off a surge by the Bobcats as Montana State took a 32-29 lead into halftime.

Johnson quickly discouraged Weber State's hopes at a comeback with a 3-pointer to start the second half, which the Bobcats opened on a 16-7 run.

Damian Lillard's dunk got Weber State within 42-35, but Will Bynum and Bobby Howard hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Montana State, which held on for the win despite going 10-for-18 from the foul line in the second half.

Weber State missed some crucial free throws that allowed Montana State to stay comfortably ahead, then Marquis Navarre gave the Bobcats a 57-42 lead on a 3-pointer with just under five minutes left in the game.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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