Griz Defeat Wildcats 74-63 for Fifth Big Sky Win in a Row

By DAVE GUFFEY | Photos by WILLIAM MUNOZ

Forward Martin Breunig registered a double-double and guard Jordan Gregory scored 15 points, as the host University of Montana Grizzlies defeated the Weber State Wildcats in a Big Sky Conference game Saturday evening.

It was “Senior Night” in UM’s Dahlberg Arena, as Gregory, forward Mike Weisner, and center Chris Kemp were recognized before the game.

It was also the fifth straight victory for Montana, which boosts its league record to 12-3 and is 16-10 overall. The Griz have now won 11 of their last 13 games. The Wildcats are now 6-9 in the league and 11-15 overall.

Montana is now tied with Sacramento State (12-3) for first place in the Big Sky. The host Hornets defeated North Dakota 77-66 this evening. Eastern Washington is a half–game back at 11-3 in league, as the Eagles lost 73-69 at Northern Arizona on Saturday afternoon.

Gregory

Jordan Gregory. Photo by ©William Munoz

“Sounds great, sounds great for a team that didn’t have a whole lot of expectations,” said head coach Travis DeCuire about his team’s share of first place and 12-3 league record. “These guys have worked hard to get better to put themselves in the position to fight.”

The Wildcats took a pair of eight-point leads in the opening half, the first at 22-14 lead on a 3-pointer by junior forward Joel Bolomboy at second came at the 7:10 mark, at 24-16 on a pair of free throws by junior forward Jaelyn JohnsonCoston with 6:21 left until intermission.

But the Grizzlies out-scored the Wildcats 10-0 after WSU had taken its second eight-point lead, and UM went ahead 26-24 on a 3-pointer by Weisner with 4:35 left until the break. WSU then tied the game up for the fourth and final time at 26-all on two free throws by freshman guard Hayden Hunter with 4:18 left until the half.

Montana then went on another run, out-scoring WSU 10-0, and when freshman forward Fabijan Krslovic made a jumper he gave the Griz a 36-26 advantage with 1:02 left until intermission. UM went in the locker-room with leading 36-29 at halftime, and were led by Weisner, who scored 9 of his 13 points in the first 20 minutes of action.

The Griz led the entire second half, and took permanent double-digit lead at 44-32 on a 3-pointer by Gregory with 16:45 left to play.

GFeller

Brandon Gfeller. Photo by ©William Munoz

Breunig, who made 8-of-12 shots from the floor, had an outstanding second half, when he scored 17 of his game-high 19 points and grabbed 8 of his 10 rebounds, seven of those boards were on the offensive end of the court. It was Breunig’s fifth double-double this season.

Gregory had 5 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with those 15 points. Mario Dunn and Riley Bradshaw scored 9 points each for UM, while fellow sophomore guard Brandon Gfeller chipped in 6 points. Kemp scored one point in his final regular-season home game.

Gregory now has 1,106 career points to move up to 19th on the career list, passing forward Ed Argenbright (1,100 points, 1954-56). Gregory trails forward Chris Spoja (1,111 points, 1994-97) by just five points for the 18th spot.

WSU was led by sophomore guard Chris Golden with 18 points, while freshman guard Ryan Richardson added 15 points off the bench. Bolomboy grabbed 10 rebounds, but was limited to 5 points, and made just one field goal.

“They didn’t like the pressure the first time we played them and I kind of felt like we waited too long to do it,” said DeCuire, whose team forced 18 WSU turnovers. “And our team is better when we’re aggressive when we’re not second-guessing our movements on both sides of the ball. When we get after it we’re a lot better team.

Gregory Senior Night

Jordan Gregory is recognized at “Senior Night” along with Chris Kemp and Mike Weisner. Photo by ©William Munoz

“We couldn’t let him (Bolomboy) beat us and they found some things underneath, a couple of lay-ups,” said DeCuire. “Once we finally got to the right spots we turned him over. He tried to force the issue because he’s been scoring for them lately. It’s hard for a big guy who’s always on the receptive end when they double you to be patient.

“We forced a couple of turnovers and got some buckets in transition,” DeCuire said. “We executed better out of the trap. Early when they were trapping Martin we turned it over and took a couple of tough shots. Once we settled down and executed the pass out we got the shot that we’ve been working on for months – Gfeller with his feet flat, Weisner with his feet flat, Jordan and even Mario, and Riley was huge off the bench for us.”

The Grizzlies play their final three league games on the road, beginning with Idaho on Thursday, Feb. 26, with tip-off at 8:05 p.m. (Mtn.), and then at EWU on Saturday, Feb. 28, in a contest that starts at 3:05 p.m. (Mtn.). The Wildcats host Idaho State next Saturday.

Griz_vs_Weber

Click on Photos to Enlarge

Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...
Griz vs Weber State 2/21/15 Photo by ©William Munoz
Griz vs Weber State ...