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Cats, Griz basketball men garner Big Sky awards

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Reno, NV -

Monday brought a fitting valedictory for one Bobcat guard, an appropriate opening salvo for another, and some ruffled feathers in Griz camp.

Big Sky Conference coaches voted senior guard Marcus Colbert Second Team All-Big Sky and freshman guard Tyler Hall won Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors while joining Colbert on the all-league’s second team. Colbert was the league’s Reserve of the Year a season ago, and Hall becomes MSU’s fourth Freshman of the Year in the last quarter century.

“If you won an award in our league this year you earned it,” said Bobcat coach Brian Fish. “Our league had so many good players, and there were good ones that didn’t win awards. Congratulations Marcus and Tyler, and to their teammates that helped them get these awards.”

Colbert punctuated his brilliant senior season with a 29-point effort on Senior Day last weekend, leading the Cats to a win over North Dakota. His effort pushed MSU to 9-9 in the Big Sky, the program’s first break-even conference season since Colbert was a freshman in 2013. The 5-11 guard from Post Falls, Idaho, enters Tuesday’s Big Sky Tournament game averaging 16.9 points and 5.1 assists a game.

Capping his first season at MSU by becoming the first Bobcat Freshman of the Year since Jason Erickson in 2001, Hall’s campaign has been historic. The 6-4 guard’s 95 three-pointers is already a school record, his 561 points is the most ever by a Bobcat freshman, and he became the fastest player in school history to 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 points. The Rock Island, Ill., native has been among the top 10 freshman scorers in the nation this season, and presently averages 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.

Hall,  Colbert and the Bobcats play Sacramento State at 6:35 p.m. MT on Tuesday in Reno during the first round of the Big Sky Tournament.

For the second time in his two-year career, Montana senior forward Martin Breunig has been named to the Big Sky first team all-conference list, and junior guard Walter Wright has been given an honorable mention nod in his first season at UM, as voted by the league’s coaches.

Breunig was named to the first team all-conference list last year, and was tabbed as the league’s “Newcomer of the Year” last season.

The Griz finished the 2015-16 regular season 19-10 overall and 14-4 in Big Sky play, while losing twice at home.

Breunig, a 6-8 guard from Leverkusen, Germany, is the Grizzlies’ leading scorer this season, and carries the nation’s twelfth-best field goal percentage, making nearly 63 percent of the shots he takes. 

He’s tallied 12 double-doubles, second most of any player in the league, but was thought by Griz coach Travis DeCuire to have been snubbed by the league’s coaches in not receiving a unanimous first team selection. With Breunig at the helm, UM has gone 28-8 in Big Sky play in the last two seasons.

“I guess 28-8 hasn’t earned the respect of the coaches in this conference,” said DeCuire. “We have work to do.”

Breunig has been one of the Big Sky’s top five scorers all season with an average of 18.6 points per game, and is the league’s third leading rebounder, pulling down an average of 9.1 boards per game.

“It’s an honor. It means all my hard work has been reflected on something. But at the same time I feel like we haven’t accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, and so now we have to work for it in the tournament," says Breunig

In his two years of play since transferring to Missoula, Breunig has become just the second player in school history to join the 1,000-point club in just two seasons. He currently has 1,072 career points, putting him at No. 22 on UM’s all-time scoring list.

So far this season, Breunig has totaled 538 points, the ninth best single season in Montana history. He needs just two more points to pass Larry Krystkowiak 's 1983-84 season total of 539.

The conference coaches also awarded Wright, a 5-10 junior transfer from Snow College in Utah, an honorable mention award.

Wright was Montana’s second leading scorer, and the Big Sky’s 19th (tie) leading scorer this season, averaging 12.4 points per game.

Also dangerous with ball in hand, Wright had the most 10+ assist performances in the league this year with three. His 12-assist game against Sacramento State on Jan. 9 is the highest mark in the Big Sky this year.

Wright has dished out 119 total assists this year, an average of 4.4 per game, the fourth most in the conference.

Individual Award Winners

MVP- Joel Bolomboy – Weber State

Top Newcomer - Ethan Telfair – Idaho State Outstanding Freshman – Tyler Hall – Montana State Defensive Player of the Year – Joel Bolomboy Top Reserve – Kyndall Hill – Weber State

First Team

Joel Bolomboy – Weber State (MVP)*

Ethan Telfair – Idaho State*

#Venky Jois – Eastern Washington

Quinton Hooker – North Dakota

#Martin Breunig – Montana

Jeremy Senglin – Weber State

Second Team

Cameron Forte – Portland State

Victor Sanders – Idaho

Austin McBroom – Eastern Washington

Marcus Colbert – Montana State

Tyler Hall – Montana State

Honorable Mention

Geno Luzcando – Idaho State

Walter Wright – Montana

Anthony Johnson – Northern Colorado

Justin Strings – Sacramento State

*Unanimous First Team selection

#Two-time First Team Selection

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