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Southern Utah COVID cases force postponement of basketball games vs. UM, MSU

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Brawl of the Wild basketball

Montana’s Mack Anderson, right, dunks the ball during warm ups before the Brawl of the Wild men’s basketball game between the Griz and Montana State at Worthington Arena Sunday.

MISSOULA — The Montana men's and women's basketball teams were forced to postpone Thursday's games against Southern Utah due to COVID-19 protocol within the Southern Utah programs.

This is the first time this season for the men's team that a game has been called off due to COVID-19, and the second time for the Lady Griz. There have been 24 games in the Big Sky Conference — men's and women's basketball combined — postponed because of COVID-19 protocol as the virus continues to impact college athletics. 

Southern Utah was also forced to postpone its men's game at Montana State, scheduled for Saturday. The game had not been rescheduled as of Wednesday. As of Wednesday, the Montana State and Southern Utah women's game slated for Saturday is still on. 

UM's games were moved to Monday, Feb. 7, according to a release from Montana. The men will play in Missoula and the women will be on the road in Cedar City, Utah. The news broke on Twitter before the league announcement.

The Grizzlies men's team (11-5, 4-2 Big SKy) are scheduled to face Portland State in Oregon next Thursday. The Lady Griz (10-4, 3-2 Big Sky), who have not played since Jan. 6 at home against Eastern Washington, will also wait until next Thursday when they are scheduled to face Portland State in Missoula.

Both games for the men and women against Southern Utah were set to feature teams in the top part of the men's and women's Big Sky Conference standings.

The Southern Utah men, who were supposed to play at Dahlberg Arena Thursday night, entered as the preseason favorite and are tied for first in the league at 9-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Southern Utah women, who were scheduled to host the Lady Griz in Cedar City, Utah, are alone in first place at 8-5 overall and a perfect 4-0 in conference.

The Southern Utah men and women have had seven games — four for the men and three for the women — moved due to COVID-19 protocol.  

Lance Hartzler covers Griz men's basketball and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter at @lance_hartz or shoot him an email at Lance.Hartzler@406mtsports.com.

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