UM Sports Trivia | Week of Feb 3

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Finally, a championship for Seattle. The last major sports title for the Emerald City was the NBA Supersonics 1979 championship. The Mariners made three trips to the American League Championship Series between 1995 and 2001 but were never able to get to the World Series. The Supersonics left Seattle in 2008 to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seattle spent much of the winter and spring of 2013 anticipating the return of the NBA to the city and then some last minute politicking kept the Kings in Sacramento and Seattle empty handed.

When the NFL draft reaches the seventh and final round each spring many teams use their last pick to select a local hero or use it for a “Novelty” choice. The Seattle Seahawks in 2011 used their last pick of the draft to pick up USC defensive back Malcolm Smith who turned out to be the MVP of the Super Bowl.

The Denver Broncos became the first NFL franchise to have lost 5 Super Bowls, three by 32 points or more.  However, the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills are the only franchise to reach the Super Bowl 4 times with no titles to show for their efforts.

When the Montana Grizzlies went to Portland in early January the Vikings were winless in Big Sky play, but the Vikings picked up an overtime win that got them back on track. The Vikings come to Dahlberg Arena on Thursday having won six of their last 7 and currently reside in third place in the conference standings. The Griz have won the past 5 years when PSU has come to Missoula, Portland State’s last win at Dahlberg Arena was on March 1, 2008 and the Vikings handed the Griz their worst home conference loss in program history with a 108-56 verdict.

Thursday Night will mark the 2,500th game in Griz basketball history. Montana is in its 113th season of mens basketball, opponent Portland State is the midst of their 50th season of men’s basketball having discontinued the sport between 1981-96. This will not be the first historically significant game played at Dahlberg Arena on February 6th. On February 6th, 1988 the Montana Lady Griz and Montana State Bobcats met with combined records of 35-0 marking the first time two Division I women’s teams with no losses and at least 17-0 wins met in a regular season game, The Lady Griz won that night 67-59 in front of a sold-out crowd in Dahlberg Arena.

Entering this week’s play coach Wayne Tinkle has 151 wins as Griz head coach putting him just 3 wins behind Mike Montgomery for second place on the career victory list for Griz basketball. Montgomery’s 152nd win came on February 22, 1986 as Montana routed the Idaho Vandals.  In that game, Larry Kryskowiak scored 32 points in his final regular season game at Dahlberg Arena.

Saturday night’s opponent Eastern Washington boosts two players among the national leaders in Divsion I stats. The Eagles Tyler Harvey is 14th in the nation in scoring and 7th in number of 3-pointers made. Parker Kelly is 16th in the nation in free throw percentage.

Last week former college and pro basketball star Lew Massey died at the age of 58. Massey was the point guard for one of the biggest Cinderella stories in College basketball in the 1970’s the 49ers of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte earned a bid to the 1976 NIT in New York and recorded a series of upsets before falling to Kentucky in the tournament finals. The following season the Niners upset Michigan in the Regional Finals to earn a trip to the final Four. In December of 1977 the UNCC 49ers came to Billings to play in the KOA Classic where they lost to what was then Eastern Montana College in the finals.

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.