Montana stops EWU one game from Big Dance for second straight year


Richard Clark IV

EWU head coach Shantay Legans walks to the bench in the Eagles’ first meeting with Montana on Jan. 10. EWU lost to the Grizzlies 68-62 in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game for the second straight year in 2019.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

For the second straight year, Montana wiped out EWU’s hopes of making the Big Dance.

The Grizzlies (26-8) beat the Eagles (16-18) 68-62 in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game, paced by 60.7 percent shooting in the second half. EWU led until just over the 11 minute mark in the second half, but were unable to keep up with UM’s scoring pace.

The Eagles were 2-of-11 from 3-point range in the second half.

Second-year head coach Shantay Legans has now lost in the conference tournament championship game both of his years as head coach. After the game he said he couldn’t be more proud of the team.

“To see their hurt in the locker room after the game, it’s just, you lose your words,” Legans said. “It’s heartbreaking. We’ll be back here next year.”

Four Eagles scored in double digits with senior forward Jesse Hunt (17), freshman forward Kim Aiken (14), junior forward Mason Peatling (13) and junior guard Tyler Kidd (12) leading the way. Junior guard Sayeed Pridgett led UM with 18 points.  

EWU had won its last five games leading up to the championship game. In all likelihood the Eagles will go on to compete in the College Basketball Invitational—the third-tier Division I tournament—for the fourth straight year.