Down 40-19 at halftime to host school and top seed Weber State, Montana’s chances at a Big Sky title and the guaranteed NCAA berth were thinner than Charlie Coles’ mustache.
Enter Anthony Johnson and one of the most dominant basketball performances I‘ve ever seen.
The senior from Tacoma, Washington came out on a mission in the second half, scoring 34 of his conference tournament record 42 in the period and single-handedly out-scoring the Wildcats by 9 points. Johnson knocked down 13-22 shots and all 14 of his free throws and even called 911 after the game and reported Weber State’s choking. The win sends the Grizzlies dancing for the first time since 2006. It also makes Anthony Johnson an early favorite for your favorite random player in next week’s tournament, although I think we can all agree he needs a flashy nickname.
Also, it should be noted that 10 year-old college basketball fans everywhere can now delight in the fact that there is a coach in the tournament with the last name of “Tinkle”. What’s not to love about that?
Montana, you’re America’s darling for the first time since joining the union in 1889. Soak it up.