By ERIC TABER
Last week against the Bobcats, Montana true freshman Michael Oguine posted a career high 27 points to lead the Griz to the rivalry win.
On Thursday, Bobby Moorehead, another of Montana’s true freshman, made a big impact for the Griz, putting down eight three-pointers to set a new career high of 24 points, helping lead Montana to a 90-77 win over Idaho State in Pocatello.
Moorehead’s 8-11 from behind the tree-point line was just one shy of tying the school record for most threes in a game, set in 1998 by Mike Warhank.
“They were so focused on Walter (Wright) that they lost sight of him (Moorehead) especially with Martin on the block,” said Montana head coach Travis DeCuire.
“He’s a freshman. So I’m sure he wasn’t on top of their scouting report, and he had a phenomenal night. But that’s an example of at team that’s got guys on the bench ready to go.”
The win, Montana’s fifth straight, puts the Griz at 18-8 on the season, and 13-2 in Big Sky play to remain tied with Weber State at the top of the league table. On Saturday, the Griz face the Wildcats with the No. 1 spot in the Big Sky on the line.
Wright posted a new career high as well, bouncing back from a bout of strep throat in style, leading the Grizzlies with 29 points and five assists against ISU, making it a total of 53 points scored between he and Moorehead.
“We’ve got some weapons,” added DeCuire. “Our guards are doing a very good job of, one, taking care of the ball, and two, they can create their own shot. When you surround them with shooters and Martin down low, we’ve got a lot of options.”
Quietly, Martin Breunig posted his eleventh double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and 11 rebounds while being forced to battle for position in the post.
The 90 points scored by the Grizzlies ties their season-high mark of 90 set back on News Years Eve against Northern Arizona, but this time UM didn’t need double-overtime to get there.
The Griz have scored 80 points or more in six of the last seven games, scoring 79 in UM’s last loss.
Montana jumped out to a quick lead in the game, with Wright going on a scoring spree, putting up nine of Montana’s first 15 points in the opening 10 minutes.
In the first half, the Griz shot a lights out 8-13 from three point land, led by Moorehead who hit four treys for 12 points, and Wright who had 12 points himself on 5-9 from the field and a pair of threes.
The Griz took advantage of a rash of turnovers from the Bengals, who coughed up the ball 10 times, leading to 14 points off turnovers for Montana.
With Moorhead on fire, the Griz took a 43-34 lead into the halftime break, and looked to be in the drivers seat.
ISU isn’t fighting for the No. 4 seed to the Big Sky tournament for nothing though, and made a quick turnaround in the second half.
The Bengals clawed their way back within three early on, as the Griz went on a miniature dry spell, going 2-10 to open the period. But Moorehead would drain a pair of threes from the corner to put the Griz up 60-51, thwarting the ISU comeback.
From that point, the Griz were in cruise control, and went on to finish the 90-77 victory.
UM now travels to Weber State on Saturday for what could be considered the most important game of the season up to this point. The Griz and Wildcats are locked at the top of the conference with only two losses each.
Weber State defeated Montana State 68-60 on Thursday. Joel Bolomboy did not play.
The Montana bench outscored the Idaho State bench 32-8, in large part to Moorehead’s 24.
The Bengals coughed up the ball 12 times, leading to 18 points off turnovers for the Griz.