MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzlies carried their momentum over from Saturday's Brawl of the Wild and took down another rival on Monday night at Dahlberg Arena.
UM defeated Weber State 77-62 in front of 3,163 fans, staying hot to win its third game in a row and improve to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in Big Sky Conference play. It was the second meeting between the two programs as the Grizzlies got their revenge after a 93-63 trouncing in Ogden, Utah to open conference play back on Dec. 28.
Brandon Whitney was sharp all game with 24 points and five assists, as he finished 9 for 12 from the field and 2 for 2 from deep, as he made his first six shots. Aanen Moody added 18 points and Dischon Thomas poured in 16 to lead the Grizzlies offense. Laolu Oke paced Montana defensively and had 11 rebounds, two blocks and three steals.
"Growth," UM head coach Travis DeCuire said. "It shows that our guys have it in their gut, they have it in their heart to be competitive against the top teams in the league. We got to that four-minute mark tonight, and we did it Saturday, and we found a way to finish, which a week ago we struggled with that so I think we're continuing to grow."
After a back-and-forth first half that saw the Griz leading 36-30 at the break, Montana began to clamp down in the second half as Thomas came alive to assist Whitney and Moody on the offensive end. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 55.1% from the field and were 7 for 22 from deep.
Weber State's Dillon Jones, the Big Sky preseason MVP, led everyone with 30 points. The Wildcats, the preseason pick to win the league, fell to 12-8 and 3-4. The Wildcats were held to 38.9% shooting in the game and were just 4 for 20 from distance and committed 12 turnovers.
"I think we're just more aggressive right now defensively," DeCuire said. "I think we're more locked in. We talk about our defensive focus. Off the ball, earlier in the year I think we had guys resting, and guys were shooting uncontested threes for no reason. I think right now the guys that are on the ball are doing a better job of being in a stance and helping us out and really shrinking the court for the ball handlers so if we can continue to do that we'll definitely be harder to score on."
Montana is on the road now to attempt to keep its winning streak up as the Grizzlies play at Portland State on Thursday and at Sacramento State on Saturday.