Montana Makes 15 Three-Pointers in 90-64 Win at Idaho State


The University of Montana Grizzlies nailed 15 three-pointers on their way to a dominating 90-64 Big Sky Conference victory over the Idaho State Bengals Saturday evening at ICCU Court in Holt Arena.

Montana improves to 3-1 in the conference and is now 6-8 overall, while ISU is 1-3/4-12. It was the Grizzlies 10th consecutive victory over the Bengals.

Sophomore guard Brandon Gfeller was one of four Grizzly starters who scored in double figures, and he led the way with a career-high 23 points. Gfeller opened the game by draining three treys in a row in the first two minutes of play to give the Griz and a 9-0 lead at the 18:19 mark, and Montana never looked back after that.

“I thought we played well in all phases of the game,” UM head coach Travis DeCuire said in his postgame radio show on KGVO-1290 AM and 101.5 FM. “We had a good day of practice yesterday (Friday) , and our intensity level was up early. Our guard play was incredible and our bigs played well too.”

Thanks do deadly three-point shooting in the first half, when the Grizzlies made 11-of-14 from behind he arc, they took a commanding 56-36 halftime lead. Gfeller led the barrage of long-range makes, going 6-of-7 trey and scoring 18 first-half points.

Montana took its largest lead of 30 points, 90-60, in the final couple of minutes of the game on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Riley Bradshaw with 2:16 left to play.

UM senior guard Jordan Gregory added 20 points, while junior forward Martin Breunig contributed 13, while sophomore point guard Mario Dunn chipped in 11 points, and Bradshaw added a career-high 8 points off the bench.

Freshman forward Fabijan Krslovic started in place of senior Chris Kemp, who was ill and did not attend the game, and he contributed 7 points and 5 rebounds. Sophomore forward Jack Lopez came off the bench and had 5 points and 5 rebounds.

Breunig led the Griz with 9 rebounds, while Dunn had another stellar all-around game, making 5-of-6 shots and grabbing 8 rebound to go along with a career-tying 7 assists in 34 minutes. Gfeller, who made 7-of-12 three-point shots, also pulled down 6 rebounds. UM starting senior forward Mike Weisner, who had missed five games with an injury, played 13 minutes at Weber State and had 3 points and tied his career-high with 2 blocks in 22 minutes against ISU.

“Our intent was to spread them out a little bit on defense and try to isolate Martin, but we got hot early outside, so we penetrated and shot threes. Twenty-one assists on 29 made shots is incredible for us.

“When you step on the floor we expect you to make plays,” said DeCuire about the solid play he got from his players off the bench. “Riley Bradshaw is a good example of that, when he came in and hit two big threes for us. Jack also had a solid game for us. Our bench has been very productive for us.”

The Griz scored 45 points from three-point range, making 15-of-25 for a season-high 55.6%. Montana was 29-of-52 (55.8%) from the floor and 17-of-25 (68.0%) from the line. UM’s 21 assists were a season-high, while its seven turnovers was a season low. The Griz had a 34-31 edge in rebounds over the Bengals.

ISU was led junior forward Marcus Bradley who scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, and made 8-of-9 shots. Senior forward Nnamdi Ezenwa led ISU with 9 rebounds. ISU’s leading scorer (16.0 ppg), senior guard/forward Chris Hansen was 3-of-12 from the floor and tallied 8 points.

The Bengals converted 27-of-57 (47.5%) shots from the floor, made 3-of-14 (21.4%) treys and were 7-of-17 from the stripe – throws for a percentage of 41.2% – the lowest by an opponent this season.

Montana’s 15 made three-pointers were one just one off the school record of 16, set in a 99-88 win at Portland State in the 2001-02 season.

The Griz are back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 13, hosting Montana Tech in their final non-league game of the season. UM returns to league action on Saturday, Jan. 17, hosting intrastate rival Montana State. Both contests tip off at 7:05 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.

The Bengals are on the road for a pair of Big Sky games, playing at Southern Utah on Jan. 15 and then at Northern Arizona on Jan. 17.