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2011 Big Sky Tournament Championship: Northern Colorado Beats Montana, 65-60, For First NCAA Tournament Appearance

The Northern Colorado Bears defeated the Montana Grizzlies, 65-60, to receive the Big Sky's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and their first trip to the event that is March Madness. It was a hard-fought, back-and-forth game that saw plenty of fouls, turnovers and three-point shots.

With 7:41 left in the game, the Grizzlies led 49-45, but that's when the Bears went on a 7-0 run to capture the lead. UNC's Devon Beitzel, the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, played a huge role in the game, scoring a game-high 27 points. He had several key threes down the stretch, including one made with less than a minute left on the clock. That put the Bears up, 57-50.

The Grizzlies made it as close as 62-60, but Beitzel made two more free throws and Chris Kaba made his first of the night. Northern Colorado struggles for the most of the night at the free throw line and finished at 60 percent (Montana wasn't much better at 63.2).

Montana ran into foul trouble (29 on the night) and lost Will Cherry late in the game. He had scored 13 points and stolen the ball four times.

In SB Nation's latest Bracketology offering, the UNC Bears were projected to be the 15 seed against the 2 seed San Diego St. Aztecs in the West region.