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Anthony Johnson

There are performances that transcend the very game they take place in. Just ask Anthony Johnson and the rest of his Montana Grizzlies team. Facing Weber State in the final game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament, Montana found themselves facing a 20-point deficit at halftime. Little did Wildcats of Weber State know, that, apparently, was right where Johnson wanted them. What else explains Johnson’s absolutely ridiculous second half?

After scoring a good-but-not-great eight points in the first, Johnson went absolutely ape-shit in the second, dropping 34 points — including the game-winner, on top of the final 21 points for his team — to lead Montana all the way back. What impressed me the most, well, besides the obvious, was the fact Johnson’s scoring assault came without an over-reliance on the three-point shot. Sure, he made a couple, but it wasn’t some ridiculous Stephen Curry-style barrage that gave Johnson his impressive second half.

Instead, he used a mix of mid-range jump shots and layups, as Weber State absolutely failed to keep Johnson out of the lane. Actually, I should probably amend that to read, “Weber State absolutely failed in doing remotely anything to slow, let alone stop, Anthony Johnson’s second half tirade.” You know, for accuracy’s sake.

Over at The Dagger, they have a post detailing some of Johnson’s personal history, and it’s a good read. Lucky for us March Madness fans, he didn’t give up on what is obviously a promising career in basketball.

I also borrowed the statistical readout below from the guys at StatSheet.com, showing Johnson’s points for the year. While he’s been a solid scorer for Montana all season long (19.6), seeing the spike at the end, caused by him essentially doubling his average, is kind of humorous.

Because of Johnson’s heroics, Montana is going back to the Big Dance for the eighth time in the school’s history. I have no doubt the idea of facing a scorer with Johnson’s ability will cause opposing tournament coaches all the heartburn they can handle.