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Sayeed Pridgett's career day not enough as Montana falls short at Omaha in overtime

Yagi Selcuk.jpg
Posted at 2:15 PM, Dec 21, 2019

MISSOULA -- Sayeed Pridgett scored a career-high 32 points but the Montana Grizzlies fell to the Omaha Mavericks 87-82 in overtime on Saturday at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Grizzlies led the Mavericks 68-62 after a Pridgett layup, but Omaha mounted a furious comeback to send the game into the extra period. KJ Robinson responded quickly with a layup to bring the game within four. Then, after Josh Vazquez made just 1 of 2 free throws, Robinson came back the other way and knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 69-67 game with 21 seconds left in the game.

Then, after Kyle Owens also went 1 for 2 at the free throw line, Robinson again scored on another layup to make it 70-69 with nine seconds to play. Owens then knocked down a pair of free throws but JT Gibson hit another three for Omaha with 2.1 seconds to play. Pridgett's attempt to win it at the buzzer didn't go which ultimately sent the game into extra time.

Montana took a 79-77 lead in overtime after a pair of free throws from Timmy Falls with 1:46 to play, but from there Omaha began to pull away, going on a 10-3 run to end the game. Eight of those points were from free throws for the Mavericks.

Pridgett was 12 for 23 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds, dished three assists and grabbed two steals. Vazquez finished with 14 and Owens added 12.

Yagizhan Selcuk made his debut as a Montana Grizzly in Saturday's game and finished with 14 points in 27 minutes of play. He added six rebounds as well. Selcuk, who hails from Turkey, transferred to Montana last December as a mid-year transfer from Towson and had to sit out a full year before joining the Grizzlies. The 6-foot-8 Selcuk offers post depth for Montana and showed a knack for finishing around the rim in his first time suiting up for the Griz.

As a team Montana was 29 for 71 (40.8 percent) from the field while Omaha was 25 for 58 (43.1 percent). The Griz started the game 0 for 8 and the Mavericks began 1 for 7 as the game was just 3-0 in the first five minutes.

Montana forced 20 turnovers on Omaha while giving it up just seven times but free throws and rebounds hurt the Griz. Omaha out-rebounded UM 51-34 including 15-11 on the offensive glass. Montana finished as a team 19 for 29 from the line.

Robinson led Omaha with 24 points and Gibson added 22.

The Griz finish out the non-conference slate of their schedule at 4-7. Montana played four Power 5 conference schools in that stretch, all four of which (Arkansas, Washington, Stanford and Oregon) are ranked in KenPom's top 50. Those four schools were a combined 36-6 on the season heading into Saturday.

Montana will open Big Sky Conference play at home on Dec. 28 and 30 when the Grizzlies host Northern Arizona and Sacramento State.