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Montana Grizzlies finding their identity after 1st win of the season

griz basketball vs yellowstone
Posted at 5:35 PM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 21:53:55-05

MISSOULA — On Saturday afternoon the Montana men's basketball team throttled Yellowstone Christian College 102-42 as the Grizzlies transitioned from competing for starting spots to building chemistry for the first time in 2020.

The winless Griz came into Saturday's contest having played two conference and two non-conference games, all four on the road.

However, the Griz looked like a different team on Saturday in their first game at Dahlberg Arena.

From the tip, Montana was clearly the favorite with a drastic height and talent advantage. Montana took advantage of that height, scoring 60 points in the paint, with 19 points each from Michael Steadman and Josh Bannon.

"We're just building off each game," said Steadman. "(Saturday) was an example of that, how we practiced getting the ball in and it just worked (Saturday)."

Steadman finished shooting 7 for 12 (58.3 percent) from the field and was 5 for 6 from the free throw line, while Bannon went 8 for 10 (80 percent) from the field and 3 for 3 from the stripe.

Montana dominated the boards, as well, with 49 rebounds compared to Yellowstone's 15. Montana's other big, Kyle Owens, had a solid performance with 10 points and 13 rebounds, making it the first double-double of his collegiate career.

"Coach (Travis DeCuire) has harped a lot in the past week or so on us getting rebounds," said Owens, "on us bigs getting rebounds, and also the guards getting back in there to rebound, as well. That's one of our main focuses right now, so we have to keep that up."

While the big guys did their work down low, Montana's guard play was selective and efficient as ever.

Point guard Cam Parker finished the game with just 12 points, but was perfect on shooting as he finished 4 for 4 from the field, 1 for 1 from beyond the arc, and 3 for 3 from the line. Josh Vasquez and Brandon Whitney each added 15 points of their own.

In what was expected to be a blowout, the Griz got to focus solely on their chemistry and team building.

"When guys don't know what their role is, they're trying to create one for themselves as opposed to winning games," said head coach Travis DeCuire. "This is the first week, really it's two days we've had where it's now all about the chemistry and not trying to find a way to get on the floor."

As a team, the Griz finished 39 for 57 (68.4 percent) from the field and 5 for 13 (38.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Griz have a tough test ahead of them as they head back on the road to take on the University of Washington (1-3) on Wednesday, Dec. 16.