March 12, 2009

OGDEN, Utah (AP)--Julius Thomas got free for a tie-breaking dunk with 3.5 seconds left and Portland State held on for a 79-77 win over Montana State on Wednesday night in the Big Sky Conference tournament championship game.

The Vikings repeated as conference champions and clinched their second consecutive NCAA tournament berth, despite allowing the Bobcats to rally from 10-points down and tie it at 77 with 11 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Branden Johnson.

Thomas scored off a pass from Andre Murray to put Portland State (23-9) ahead again, then Murray snuffed Montana State's hopes by not allowing Bobby Howard to get off a shot at the buzzer.

Divaldo Mbunga had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats (14-17), who were the No. 6 seed.