BOZEMAN — History repeated itself Saturday in the first meetings between Montana and Montana State on the basketball court this season.
In the women’s game, the Bobcats beat the Lady Griz 74-52, but Montana came out with a 9-0 lead and held Montana State scoreless for almost five minutes at the start of the game.
The Bobcats ultimately adjusted to the adversity while Montana did not.
“Once our shots started to not fall I think our biggest thing was not adjusting to that,” Griz guard Sammy Fatkin said. “Going to the boards, getting the rebounds. Our shots were not falling? Oh well, we have to adjust and we just didn’t get there (Saturday).”
“Had a lot of games where we’ve struggled scoring this year and we’ve managed to pull it out on the defensive end,” Griz head coach Shannon Scheweyen said. “But I thought they had way too many open looks off screen and rolls and things like that where we just had miscommunication, and that’s just disappointing on our end that we didn’t have better intensity.”
But for the Bobcats, they knew in order to win, finishing at the rim was vital. They shot nearly 47 percent from inside, a much stronger performance than Montana, which made only 21 of 70 shots.
“I think they were confused, they weren’t really sure what they were doing on that pick and roll, and it’s easy to finish when you know your guard is finding you at the rim every time,” said Montana State forward Blaire Braxton. “You’re right at the basket, everybody is looking inside and once you kind of get that going inside you can start to work out, you get people collapsing, then shots start falling.”
After the Bobcat women’s huge win, it was a little different for the men’s game. The Griz beat Montana State 83-78, as both teams had to work around foul trouble. By the end of the game, every single player on both teams had at least one personal foul. The Griz finished with 20 as a team, and the Cats with 25.
”Jamar (Akoh) and Sayeed (Pridgett) are probably the best ones when things aren’t going their way, they’re very good at staying positive and still helping out the team on the bench,” Griz guard Michael Oguine said of the foul trouble. “And when those guys are doing that, it makes it pretty easy to keep playing hard even though we’re down two starters.”
“They’re giving us energy on the bench and once they’re ready to go back in, they’re bringing the same energy they had before,” Oguine added..
Griz coach Travis DeCuire said there are no pretty wins inside Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, while Bobcats coach Brian Fish lamented the 13-point difference at the foul line.
“A game like that, in a very physical game, to beat us at the line that much, is a tough thing to overcome,” he said. “Some of that was we missed some free throws, we could have closed that gap and still been fine on there, but I thought that was the biggest difference in the game.”