MISSOULA, Mont. -

Northern Colorado erased a 15-point second half deficit but Montana regained control over the three minutes of play to record the 61-55 win over the Bears Thursday night at home inside Dahlberg Arena.

Montana jumped out to a 19-6 lead after tipoff but held just a 30-23 advantage at intermission.

In the second half Montana was again hot out of the gates and ballooned their advantage to 46-32 in the second half.  That’s when the Bears started their comeback and tied the game up at 49-49 with 2:27 remaining.  However the comeback bid fell short as Montana took over the rest of the way thanks in part to going 5-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch.

Junior guard Kellie Cole led Montana with a game-high 18 points while also grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out four assists.  Senior point guard Torry Hill finished with 11 points, eight assists and three steals while committing no turnovers.

It was the 14th straight conference win at home for Montana (15-7, 9-4 BSC) to keep them firmly in second place of the Big Sky standings, behind North Dakota (11-3 BSC).  The Lady Griz will have huge contest this weekend as they host league-leading North Dakota Saturday afternoon inside Dahlberg Arena.