By ERIC TABER
For the second time in his two-year career, Montana senior forward Martin Breunig has been named to the Big Sky first team all-conference list, and junior guard Walter Wright has been given an honorable mention nod in his first season at UM, as voted by the league’s coaches.
Breunig was named to the first team all-conference list last year, and was tabbed as the league’s “Newcomer of the Year” last season as well.
The Griz finished the 2015-16 regular season at 19-10 overall and 14-4 in Big Sky play, while only giving up two losses at home all year.
Breunig, a 6-8 guard from Leverkusen, Germany, is the Grizzlies’ leading scorer this season, and carries the nation’s twelfth-best field goal percentage, making nearly 63 percent of the shots he takes.
He’s been one of the Big Sky’s top five scorers all season long with an average of 18.6 points per game, and is the league’s third leading rebounder as well, pulling down an average of 9.1 boards per game.
He’s tallied 12 double-doubles, the second most of any player in the league, but was snubbed by the league’s coaches in not receiving a unanimous first team selection.
With Breunig at the helm of second year head coach Travis DeCuire’s squad, UM has gone 28-8 in Big Sky play in the last two seasons.
“I guess 28-8 hasn’t earned the respect of the coaches in this conference,” says DeCuire. “We have work to do.”
The snub from the coaches doesn’t bother Breunig however, as he and the Grizzlies depart for Reno on Tuesday afternoon with one goal in mind: earning a trip to the NCAA tournament.
“It’s an honor. It means all my hard work has been reflected on something. But at the same time I feel like we haven’t accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, and so now we have to work for it in the tournament,” says Breunig
In his two years of play since transferring to Missoula, Breunig has become just the second player in school history to join the 1,000-point club in just two seasons. He currently has 1,072 career points, putting him at No. 22 on UM’s all-time scoring list.
So far this season, Breunig has totaled 538 points, the ninth best single season in Montana history. He needs just two more points to pass Larry Krystkowiak ‘s 1983-84 season total of 539.
The conference coaches also awarded Wright, a 5-10 junior transfer from Snow College in Utah, an honorable mention award.
Wright was Montana’s second leading scorer, and the Big Sky’s 19th (tie) leading scorer this season, averaging 12.4 points per game.
Also dangerous with ball in hand, Wright had the most 10+ assist performances in the league this year with three. His 12-assist game against Sacramento State on Jan. 9 is the highest mark in the Big Sky this year.
Wright has dished out 119 total assists this year, an average of 4.4 per game, the fourth most in the conference.
Individual Award Winners
MVP- Joel Bolomboy – Weber State
Top Newcomer – Ethan Telfair – Idaho State
Outstanding Freshman – Tyler Hall – Montana State
Defensive Player of the Year – Joel Bolomboy
Top Reserve – Kyndall Hill – Weber State
Joel Bolomboy – Weber State (MVP)*
Ethan Telfair – Idaho State*
#Venky Jois – Eastern Washington
Quinton Hooker – North Dakota
#Martin Breunig – Montana
Jeremy Senglin – Weber State
Cameron Forte – Portland State
Victor Sanders – Idaho
Austin McBroom – Eastern Washington
Marcus Colbert – Montana State
Tyler Hall – Montana State
Geno Luzcando – Idaho State
Walter Wright – Montana
Anthony Johnson – Northern Colorado
Justin Strings – Sacramento State
*Unanimous First Team selection
#Two-time First Team Selection