Photo Gallery: Grizzly Hoops win 86-68 over Lewis & Clark State

By AUSTIN SMITH

The University of Montana men’s basketball crew opened their 2012-13 season Thursday evening with a solid 86-68 win over the Lewis & Clark State Warriors.

The game was contested through the initial minutes of the first period, but sophomore guard Keron DeShields turned up the defensive heat and opened the door for earners Kareem Jamar and Mathias Ward to flesh out the stat book.

DeShields was an absolute powerhouse with his back to the rim, playing with a controlled ferocity that belies his age.  DeShields has matured his already impressive play from last year’s freshman season, and if Thursday’s game is any indication, the Grizzly squad should be just fine without their star guard Will Cherry, who was injured in the offseason.

Led by senior forward Nick Fromm, the Warriors seemed like they were on to something late in the first period.  The comeback was not to be however, as the Griz overcame disproportionate penalties and continued to pour in buckets from all angles.  Montana maintained a constant 15-point buffer to the final whistle.

Junior guard Kareem Jamar was also a standout, earning Player of the Game honors with his team-high 26 points and six rebounds.  Jamar was fearless in his pursuit of the ball, pairing a clutch steal with DeShields’ lockdown D early on in the first period to put a damper on the Warriors’ hopes.

The men are back on Wednesday, November 14th to host Minot State, but only after a road game against the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, November 17th.

Spirit Squad member Keiko Sagami is launched into the air during a partner stunt shortly before the commencement of the Montana Grizzly 2012-13 men's basketball season.  The returning champs opened with a 86-68 win over Lewis & Clark State.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Spirit Squad member ...
Junior guard Kareem Jamar lunges and steals the ball from Lewis & Clark's Joseph Moquino in the closing minutes of the first period.  Jamar was Thursday's Player of the Game and team scoring leader with 26 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Junior guard Kareem ...
Mathias Ward looks for an open pass during the first period of Thursday's contest against Lewis & Clark State.  Ward tallied 20 points to help the Griz can the Warriors 86-68.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Mathias Ward looks f...
The Fiercest Bear in the West wags a furry finger during one of Lewis & Clark State's trip to the free throw line.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
The Fiercest Bear in...
UM student Geoffrey Donovan at Thursday's season opener, sporting an anti-MSU shirt inspired by a popular Jay-Z rap lyric.  Donovan was enjoying the game with his friends and fellow students Kendall Alderman and Taylor Albright.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
UM student Geoffrey ...
Winners of Thursday's Best Seat in the House McKeever Dahlberg (l) and Will Larson poke at Monte in an attempt to get their popcorn back.  Dahlberg and Larson cheered the Griz on to a 86-68 victory over Lewis & Clark State to open the 2012-13 season.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Winners of Thursday&...
Player of the Game Kareem Jamar drives the lane during Thursday's 86-68 victory over Lewis & Clark State.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Player of the Game K...
Senior forward Mathias Ward drives for two of his 20 points mid-way through the first period of Thursday's season opener.  Ward was a constant threat for the Warriors, also tallying two rebounds and an assist.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Senior forward Mathi...
Sophomore guard Keron DeShields leads the Griz downcourt late in the second period of Thursday's victory over Lewis & Clark State.  DeShields's shades are new this season, but his personality and on-court dominance are as strong as they've always been.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Sophomore guard Kero...
Junior center Eric Hutchison looks to the hoop through the paws of two Lewis & Clark State defenders.  Hutchison struggled Thursday after his momentum was stolen by several controversial penalties; but 'struggling' for Hutchison still yielded nine points, three rebounds, and two blocks.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Junior center Eric H...
Kevin Henderson gets physical on his way to the rim with Lewis & Clark's Trey Sobotta.  Henderson had six points, five rebounds, and an assist in Thursday's 86-68 victory.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Kevin Henderson gets...
Montana's Keron DeShields gets low before Lewis & Clark guard Robert Ellis.  DeShields was an absolute defensive phenom throughout Thursday's contest.  Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., November 1st, 2012.
Montana's Keron...

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Austin Smith in a tie

Austin Smith is a 21-year resident of the Missoula area, and an ardent fisherman, hunter, and snowboarder. When not working on the University of Montana campus, taking classes in the Journalism program, or contributing to the social media efforts of several local organizations, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his Akita and his family.