MISSOULA, Mont. -- It wasn't a first-place battle between Weber State and Montana -- the Grizzlies just played that way.
Reigning league MVP Kareem Jamar poured in 25 points as Montana defeated Weber State 68-57 Thursday at Dahlberg Arena, handing WSU its seventh straight loss in Missoula.
Fighting for playoff position instead of dominating the league like they have the past two seasons, the Griz (13-11, 8-7 Big Sky) shot 68.2 percent from the field in the second half and played like a first-place contender again against the Wildcats.
Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said the Griz were ready to resume their intense rivalry with the Wildcats.
"I thought it played out that way, and that was brought about by the players," Tinkle said. "We didn't make a bigger deal as a coaching staff of the rivalry and the history. This was a game against a really good team we needed to take care of at home. We knew we were battling for our playoff lives and we still are."
Tinkle said -- named last week the "sexiest man in college basketball" by CollegeInsider.com -- hopes his team will start to look good now after dropping the previous two games on the road.
"What always kind of shakes out here these last three/four years, the good teams peak at the right time," he said. "We haven't played very well to this point but we knew going into this game that we had everything still in front of us," Tinkle said. "We've got to build off this, we can't take a step back Saturday night."
Senior center Kyle Tresnak scored 23 points for Weber State (14-9, 11-4 Big Sky). Senior guard/forward Davion Berry added 12 and freshman guard Jeremy Senglin had 10 for WSU.
The Wildcats are still in first place in the Big Sky but lost for the second time this week, with one more to go Saturday against Montana State.
"It's just a little adversity," Tresnak said. "We didn't play well at Idaho State and lost that one in overtime. We fought really hard up here and it's a tough place to play. We've just got to stay together, take a look at the film and just figure out what we can do better."
Tresnak's jumper with 8:18 left cut Montana's lead to one, but the Griz went on an 11-2 run to pull away, fueled by Jamar, Jordan Gregory and Eric Hutchinson. Gregory and Hutchison each finished with nine points.
Weber State stayed in rhythm offensively most of the game, making 52.4 percent of its shots, but couldn't keep Montana from finding its own.
"Montana played a terrific game," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "From what I saw on film, it felt like they played as well as they've played in a long time. That's what you get. It seems like everybody gets up for us and plays really well, so a lot of credit goes to Montana. They were outstanding and we just couldn't keep going. I thought we were a little worn down there toward the end."
The Griz turned the ball over only three times and shot 57.4 percent overall despite going just 3 of 11 from 3-point range.
"We couldn't get them stopped and that's what it comes down to," Rahe said. "They've got a lot of different weapons that they can use. They play such a different lineup that it's hard to defend. They did a great job of attacking us off the dribble."
The versatile Jamar had 20 points in the last meeting in Ogden but wasn't as effective as the Wildcats pulled out a 68-63 win on Jan. 25.
Thursday he hit 11 of 19 from the field and didn't have a turnover.
"It's hard to stop him. I'm not sure you can really stop him, he probably stops himself as much as anybody," Rahe said. "Whether he makes the shot or misses the shot is what it comes down to. He's such a good player ----- inside, outside. It's difficult to stop him."
Weber State senior point guard Jordan Richardson scored six points and set a Big Sky Conference record for career games in his 124th contest for Weber State.
Tresnak is only one game behind and on Monday, Tresnak became the first player in Weber State history with at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks.
Thursday, it didn't take him long to increase the standard, scoring 13 points before halftime to cross the 1,100-point threshold.
"We threw it in there and they were going to take away some of our perimeter game, so we kept throwing it in," Rahe said. "Trez played a great basketball game. I was really proud of him. He did a great job of converting when we did throw it in there."
Sophomore center Joel Bolomboy also reached a milestone, grabbing 11 rebounds to become the 28th player in WSU history with 500 boards, accomplishing it in his 59th game.
Weber State is still one game ahead of Northern Colorado (16-8, 10-5) in the loss column. The Wildcats face Montana State on Saturday night in Bozeman to complete their four-game road trip.
Contact reporter Roy Burton at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RoyBurtonSE.