(Editor’s note: story by Montana Sports Information)
MISSOULA – The Grizzlies got exactly what they needed on Monday night: a solid performance on both sides of the ball to get back in the win column. Following back-to-back losses, Montana earned an 80-52 win over the College of Idaho.
On offense, Montana shined, shooting 57.1 percent, including nine three-pointers and 48 points in the first half. On defense, the Grizzlies limited the Yotes to 29.7 percent shooting and blocked 10 shots – the team’s highest total since December 2010.
Montana led by as many as 34 points and never trailed.
The Yotes missed their first 8 field-goal attempts and turned the ball over five times in the first 7 minutes. By the time they made their first shot from the floor, Montana had built a 12-point lead, which ballooned to scores of 32-10 following back-to-back treys and 48-20 following another three late in the half.
Montana led by at least 25 points the entire second half, despite not making a field goal over the final 6 minutes. Four Grizzlies were in double figures, including Sayeed Pridgett (17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, plus eight rebounds) and Ahmaad Rorie (17 points and seven assists). Bobby Moorehead had a season-high 14 points, while Timmy Falls made his return to the court, adding 11 points, three assists and a team-high three steals.
Redshirt freshman Kelby Kramer made his first career start, logging 22 minutes and bringing down six rebounds, in addition to three blocked shots and one steal. He was ready to go from the start, tallying three rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot in the first 3 minutes of game action.
• The Grizzlies entered Monday ranked eighth in NCAA Division I for shooting and increased their season average by making 57.1 percent of their shots vs. COI (36-of-56). It marked the sixth consecutive game Montana has made at least half of its shots.
• Montana’s 48 first-half points were a season high.
• Montana built a 39-15 lead 16:23 into the first half on a three-pointer from Ahmaad Rorie. At that point, Montana had already made seven three-pointers (7-of-12).
• In addition to his 17 points, Rorie finished with a season-high seven assists (all in the first half). As a team, Montana had assists on 18 of its 32 made baskets (56.3 percent).
• Montana’s 10 blocked shots were its most since recording a dozen vs. Great Falls on Dec. 9, 2010. Mack Anderson, Kelby Kramer and Michael Oguine each had three.
• In the first half, Montana shot 66.7 percent from the floor (20-of-30) compared to 21.9 percent for COI (7-of-32).
• Montana used 12 players in the win.
• Montana improved to 8-0 in non-Division-I games under Travis DeCuire.
(on his team’s performance overall)
“We did a far better job tonight. Backs against the wall, you’re always going to do a little better; you’re going to be more desperate. We had some hard practices this week, and I thought we responded well.”
(on his team’s 18 assists)
“When you do things the right way and your intent is in the right place, good things happen to you. There were times where Ahmaad (Rorie) comes down, turns down an OK shot and the ball comes right back to him after everyone else touches it once or twice. Sayeed (Pridgett), inside out in the high post, all of a sudden he gets uncontested shots and layups. It gets contagious when you do the right things and have the right mindset.”
(on Falls returning to the lineup)
“He’s selfless. I think back to when he had just hit a three in the corner and gets the ball in the other corner, wide open, and makes the extra pass to Ahmaad because Ahmaad had already made a couple. He’s a guy who passes really well, but is also more excited about passing than shooting. When you have a team that has as many weapons as we have and take that out of the lineup, you struggle.”
(on Kramer’s first career start)
I thought the best thing he did was he finished the game with 22 minutes and just one foul. That had been an issue for him, where if the ball got into the paint he felt like if he got scored on he was in trouble. So he’d do anything to get the ball. I thought he did a good job holding his position. Six rebounds for him were huge, and something we needed. I thought we need a little more size in the middle, not just tonight but in the future too, so we went with him.”
Montana will have one of its toughest tests of the year, traveling to UC Irvine. The Anteaters are 7-2 – including wins over Texas A&M and St. Mary’s – and were the favorites to win the Big West Conference. Before the team takes off for California, though, fans can join DeCuire and the Voice of the Griz Tuesday at noon at the Press Box for the first Grizzly Coaches Show of the season.