By ERIC TABER
The Montana Grizzlies basketball squad’s difficult non-conference season continues on Wednesday night as UM travels to Fargo to take on the defending Summit League champion North Dakota State Bison. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (MT) on Nov. 25 from Scheels Arena in Fargo for a pre-Thanksgiving showdown.
LISTEN: Mick Holien will bring Griz fans the action from Fargo on the Montana Radio Network. A live audio stream is also available on gogriz.com.
SERIES HISTORY: Montana (2-1) leads the all-time series between the two schools 6-2. The Griz defeated the Bison (2-1) last season in Missoula 69-57 when the two teams met for the first time since 1988, then under coach Stew Morrill (a 98-69 win for Montana)
The Griz had three players in double figures against the Bison last season, with Jordan Gregory leading Montana with 20 points, Martin Breunig put in 18, and Brandon Gfeller added 10.
Lost to graduation from the Bison roster this year is guard Lawrence Alexander, who put up 29 against Montana last season. Sophomore guard Paul Miller is filling Alexander’s shoes nicely though, averaging nearly 19 points-per-game this season, shooting 51 percent from the floor.
COACH DeCUIRE ON THE BISON: “It’s another opportunity to play against another conference champion, like Boise. There are some similarities. They shoot the ball, they open the floor, they play dribble-drive type offense and attack the rim.”
KEYS TO THE GAME: “Defending penetration. Getting to their three point shooters. They won’t have five guys on the floor that shoot threes, but they will have some guys that are good shooters. They’re pretty good at moving people around and getting people to bite on the dribble-drive and leave shooters open. So we’ve got to do a good job at knowing who it is we’re guarding, and understanding their personnel. If we do that and guard their actions we’ll be fine.”
LAST TIME OUT: The Griz improved to 2-1 with a 70-61 win over the visiting Carroll College Saints in Missoula. Three players scored in double figures for Montana, and Martin Breunig posted a double-double with 19 rebounds and 15 points. Brandon Gfeller led all scorers with 23, and Fabijan Krslovic was one board shy of a double-double with nine rebounds and 10 points.
NEXT UP: The Griz travel to sunny Malibu, California to take on the Pepperdine Waves of the West Coast Conference on Sunday, Nov. 29. The Waves are currently 2-3, with a schedule highlighted by a win against Duquesne at the Gulf Coast Showcase, and an 81-67 loss to UCLA. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (MT).