MISSOULA – One Big Sky championship down, one to go.
The Montana Grizzlies wrapped up the conference regular season title in style Thursday night, cruising past second place Weber State 75-57 in Dahlberg Arena.
The Griz jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and never trailed in the game. Weber State did put together a couple runs in the first half, and only trailed 36-29 at halftime. But Montana owned the final 20 minutes. The lead remained in double digits for the final 17:12 of the contest, and reached a height of 20 points down the stretch.
UM held one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country to only 2/11 from behind the arc. Montana also dominated the glass, beating the Wildcats 42-25 in rebounding. The Grizzlies shared the love while giving up only isolation looks to the visitors. Montana dished out 22 assists on their 31 made baskets. Weber State only totaled three assists in the entire game.
Montana’s star junior guards helped get the rout started. Ahmaad Rorie scored 10 in the first half, while Michael Oguine added nine. Rorie finished with 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Oguine finished with 11, while third-leading scorer Jamar Akoh chipped in 12.
The Grizzlies only senior turned in one of his best games of the season. In his second to last game on his home floor, forward Fabijan Krslovic recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Big Sky Conference leading scorer Jerrick Harding paced the Wildcats with 19 points, two below his season average. Brekkot Chapman was the only other Weber State player in double figures with 14 points.
The complete performance gives the Grizzlies their first outright Big Sky regular season title since 2013. It also keeps their perfect home record intact. Montana is now 13-0 in Dahlberg Arena this season. And maybe even more importantly, it gives head coach Travis DeCuire’s club even more confidence and momentum heading into the Big Sky tournament in Reno next week.
Weber State falls to 12-5 in Big Sky play. The Wildcats have spent most of the season in second place in the league. But now they could slip to the four-seed, and land on the same side of the bracket as Montana.