MISSOULA – Montana men’s basketball has spent much of the past decade as the hunted in the Big Sky Conference. Once again, the Grizzlies find themselves on top of the standings, but this time feels a little different because of the dominating performances that put Montana on its perch.
The Grizzlies have won their first four league games by an average of nearly 22 points. They destroyed two teams by 30 and have trailed for a total of only 3 minutes, 41 seconds and never by more than two points.
Everyone feels great about the way the team is playing, but the Griz don’t have to think very far back to keep motivated.
“Last year we were 5-1 around this time, and we ended up in fifth place (at the end of the season),” said junior forward Bobby Moorehead. “So we can’t get complacent here. We can’t be satisfied with where we are at. The 4-0 is cool, but it doesn’t really mean that much right now. We just have to focus on this week.”
Montana’s fast start last year came to an end on the same road trip it faces this week. Sacramento State and Portland State swept the Griz.
“This is a really tough road trip. We’ve struggled with this in the past,” recalled Moorehead.
“I think the team that can get the most sweeps on the road tends to be the one that pulls away,” said head coach Travis DeCuire. “We’ve got one under our belt (at Northern Arizona and Southern Utah to start conference play), and another would be huge. But this is a very difficult one.”
UM makes the trip west to Sacramento State to play the 1-2 Hornets at 8 p.m. Thursday. Then they take on the 1-2 Portland State Vikings at 2 p.m. Saturday.