By ERIC TABER
After starting the season in nearly the best way possible, the Montana Grizzlies head to the Bay Area to take on the San Jose State Spartans to try to make it two-for-two against Mountain West Conference opponents in less than a week.
LAST GAME: The Griz (1-0) defeated the Boise State Broncos 74-72 at a packed Dahlberg Arena in Missoula to move to start the season at 1-0 with an impressive victory over a Broncos outfit that was receiving top 25 votes.
True freshman guard Michael Oguine made a huge impact down the stretch with 17 points and five rebounds as the Griz redeemed a double-overtime loss to the Broncos last year in Boise. Senior Martin Breunig led Montana with 21 points and five rebounds in just 25 minutes of action, and the Griz shot nearly 55 percent in the second half to come away with a one of the biggest wins of Coach DeCuire’s tenure at UM.
It was only Montana’s second season opening win against a division one opponent since the ’83-’84 Griz beat Pacific under Mike Montgomery. The only other season opening win since came in ’09 when the Griz defeated North Dakota in the former Karl Tyler Tournament.
That game against UND in ’09 was also the last time the Grizzlies opened the season at home.
NEXT UP: The San Jose State Spartans (0-1) finished last season dwelling at the bottom of the Mountain West, picking up only two wins on the season, and going 0-18 on the year in conference play.
The Spartans opened its season at home on Saturday against fellow Big Sky Conference member Idaho, with the Vandals cruising to a 74-54 victory. Idaho was led by Perrion Callandret with 18 points.
SERIES HISTORY: The Griz will have the chance to even the all time series with the Spartans, with Montana heading to San Jose trailing 5-6. The last time these two teams faced each other was in 1998, in a game played in Billings, Montana. The Spartans won that contest 79-52.