MISSOULA – The Montana men’s basketball team plays its final three games of the regular season at home, and the Grizzlies return with an unusual taste lingering in their mouths: defeat.
Montana’s 13-game winning streak was snapped at Eastern Washington last Thursday, 74-65, and the Griz also fell at Idaho, 79-77 in overtime, on Saturday.
But head coach Travis DeCuire says the first two Big Sky Conference setbacks for his team were nothing alike. Montana put up a disappointing effort in Cheney, Wash., but had a much better showing in Moscow, Idaho.
“I thought we went out Saturday and played with a lot of confidence and competed and played a very entertaining basketball game,” said DeCuire. “It’s unfortunate that we took another loss, but I think it showed signs of a team that is high in confidence and is ready to play at a high level and can respond to competition.”
“Travis always talks about competing with desperation,” said point guard Ahmaad Rorie. “We feel like maybe that desperation slipped a little bit, so just trying to get back to that and just playing with fire. When we were doing that, we were blowing teams out.”
The Grizzlies handled Montana State back in the middle of their long winning streak. They won in Bozeman 67-52 back on Jan. 20. Now UM looks for a season sweep of its rivals at 7 p.m. Saturday night in Missoula.