(Editor’s note: University of Montana media release)
STANFORD, Calif. – Montana had its chances to pick up its second signature win of the month, leading Stanford 50-44 with 9:56 to play. The Cardinal, however, closed the game on a 26-4 run to defeat the visiting Grizzlies, 70-54, Wednesday evening from Maples Pavilion.
In many ways, the Griz played well enough to win. They held a 14-11 edge for offensive rebounds and forced the Cardinal into 18 turnovers while committing just 11. That led to a 21-6 points-off-turnover advantage, and Montana also shot better than it has from the free-throw line, connecting on 12 of 17.
However, the Grizzlies shot just 29 percent from the floor, including 16 percent from three-point range, and went cold when the game was on the line.
“They wanted it more down the stretch,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “We just had some timely mishaps.”
Montana started the game slow offensively, but was within five points, 30-25, at the half, despite shooting just 30 percent. The Grizzlies held Stanford without a basket for more than 5 minutes early and were tied as late as 22-22 with Michael Oguine scoring nine consecutive UM points.
The Grizzlies opened the second half on an 11-4 run to take a 36-34 lead, their first since 6-4 early in the game. Following a Stanford three-pointer, Montana rattled off the next six points to take five-point advantage, 42-37.
During the run, junior Bobby Moorehead scored 11 consecutive Montana points – capped with a four-point play to give Montana a 40-37 lead.
“Bob right now is our best weapon from 3,” DeCuire said. “He’s been relentless from both sides of the ball. He’s defending, he’s deflecting, he’s just making a lot of things work for us.”
Moorehead finished with a season-high 16 points, in addition to three steals. He was Montana’s second-leading scorer, behind Oguine’s 19.
“Mike’s been super aggressive, and that’s why we’re getting the ball in his hands a little more,” DeCuire said. “He can slither through the defense and get to the rim and finish. He’s making a lot happen.”
During a 13-minute stretch spanning both halves, Moorehead and Oguine scored 27 consecutive Grizzly points.
“They got us going and that’s how we got the lead,” DeCuire said. “Bob and Mike are playing championship-level basketball.”
Stanford would use a 7-0 run to regain the lead, 44-42, but Montana would answer back with an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of the night, 50-44, with 9:56 to play.
Montana, though, would go cold down the stretch, being held without a basket for 6:32 and without points altogether for 5:37. The Grizzlies would make just 2 of their final 19 shot attempts as Stanford closed the game on a 26-4 run.
Ahmaad Rorie, who had scored at least 16 points in every game this season, scored just four points on 1-of-12 shooting. The Grizzlies also weren’t able to get much going with their post play, with several players missing easy shots down low.
The Grizzlies will move on from this tough loss knowing they had opportunities to knock off a Pac-12 foe, but also knowing they need to clean some areas up. They will be back in action Sunday vs. Cal State Northridge. Tickets can be purchased online.
“We’re sitting in a good spot going into December, but we have to be a better basketball team,” DeCuire said. “There’s more potential for us out there; we just have to take advantage of these situations.”