Montana Grizzlies come alive in 2nd half to beat Idaho on the road

Posted at 8:58 AM, Jan 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-21 14:39:35-05

(Editor’s note: Story by Griz Communications)

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho’s Trevon Allen crossed up Montana with just over 9 minutes to play Saturday night and buried a long jumper to bring his Vandals within a single possession, 49-46. Montana got the last laugh, though, scoring the next 13 points and holding Idaho without a point for more than 7 minutes as the Grizzlies knocked off Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum, 69-51.

While Idaho never fully went away, the Grizzlies were in control throughout. Idaho held a brief 10-7 lead just over 3 minutes into the game, but Montana responded with a season-best 16-0 run, keeping the Vandals off the board for 7 minutes, 26 seconds and racing out to a double-digit advantage.

It was one of three times that Idaho went at least 5 minutes without scoring, also going through a drought late in the first half.

Senior Ahmaad Rorie led all Grizzlies with 20 points, including 10 of Montana’s first 19. He shot 8-of-14 overall, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. He was one of four Grizzlies in double figures, including Michael Oguine (13), Jamar Akoh (10) and Sayeed Pridgett (10).

Game Notables

  • Montana led for the final 33 minutes of the game.
  • Idaho’s 51 points were a season low for a Montana opponent, and the fewest since Southern Utah scored 49 points against the Griz on Jan. 25, 2018.
  • Montana turned the ball over a season-low six times.
  • Montana out-rebounded its opponent for the eighth consecutive game, collecting 43 boards (to Idaho’s 32), including a season-high-tying 15 on the offensive glass.
  • Nearly 60 percent of Montana’s rebounds came from Akoh (nine), Oguine (eight) and Pridgett (eight).
  • Montana held Idaho nearly 22 points below the Vandals’ season average. The Grizzlies have held their opponents under their scoring average in 16 of 18 games this season.
  • During Montana’s 16-0 run in the first half, the Grizzlies forced Idaho into 12 consecutive missed shots and two turnovers. During UM’s 13-0 run late in the game, Idaho went 0-for-7 with three turnovers.
  • Idaho’s Allen scored a game-high 24 points. At one point, he scored 16 consecutive Idaho points, out-scoring Montana 16-12 over a stretch of 10:36 across both halves.
  • Prior to Saturday, Montana had lost three consecutive games to Idaho. The Vandals were the only team Montana didn’t beat last year during its championship season, losing 79-77 in overtime in the only meeting.

Quoting DeCuire
(on his pregame approach)
“We told the guys beforehand, ‘Don’t let their record fool you. They play better basketball than their record shows. They’re young. They’re not going to go away.’ I thought, for the most part, we did what we needed to do.”

(on what he told his team during a second-half timeout, after Idaho had cut the score to 49-46)
“Pace. We needed to be aggressive without taking the first open shot we could get. I wanted to keep our pace up, attack the paint, but not settle on the first attempt. (I wanted to) see what we could do on the second, third side, and once we started doing that the basket got big and we went on a run.”

(on turning it on when his team needed to)
“We’re capable. Right now I think the sense of urgency is more impressive when there’s a threat. When the threat goes away we’re not as good.”

(on Montana’s defense)
“We did a good job guarding their sets. We haven’t been guarding sets like this all year, so in preparation for that it was very difficult to duplicate that, but we did a very good job getting off screens.”

Looking Ahead
After beginning Big Sky Conference with five of seven games on the road, Montana will play its next five games inside the state of Montana, including four in Missoula. The Grizzlies host Idaho State on Thursday and first-place Weber State on Saturday.