Griz at Idaho Thursday, Feb 26th

By DAVE GUFFEY

THE GAME: First place in the Big Sky Conference will be on the line as the University of Montana Grizzlies (16-10/12-3 BSC) begin a three-game road trip against the Idaho Vandals (11-14/6-8) in a league game on Thursday, Feb. 26, in UI’s Memorial Gym, with tip-off at 8:05 p.m. (Mtn.).

TIED FOR FIRST: Montana is tied for first in the Big Sky with Sacramento State (12-3). The host Hornets beat the Griz 70-69 in the teams’ only regular-season meeting this season on Jan. 31. The Eastern Washington Eagles are in second place at 11-3.

Martin Breunig (Photo by Todd Goodrich UM) (2)

Martin Breunig (Photo by Todd GoodrichUM)

UP NEXT?: The Griz play the Eagles (11-3/20-7) in an afternoon contest, Saturday, Feb. 28, with tip-off at 3:05 p.m. (Mtn.) In Cheney.

RADIO/TV: Veteran Mick Holien calls the action on UM’s flagship stations KGVO 1290 AM/ & 101.5 FM, on the Grizzly Radio Network from Learfield Sports. The UM-UI game will not be televised.

FIRST MEETING: (At Montana 70, Idaho 56): The Griz had four starters score in double figures, and guard Jordan Gregory had a game-high 17 points in the win. Also in double figures were Breunig (12 points), Gfeller (11 points), and guard Mario Dunn (10 points). Gregory had a career-high 7 assists.

GREGORY UPDATE: Gregory has scored 1,106 career points, moving him up to 19th on UM’s career list. (See page 3 for an all-time scoring list).

GRIZ IN THE NCAA RANKINGS (as of 2/23/15): Bruenig is ranked 13th in field goal percentage (59.2%) and 89th in scoring (16.9 ppg). Gregory is ranked 42nd in both 3-pointers made per game (2.69) and in 3-point percentage (39.8%), and he’s 97th in scoring (16.7 ppg). Mario Dunn is ranked 65th in steals (1.85 pg). Gfeller is ranked 15th in 3-point percentage (43.6%) and 55th in treys per game (2.62). Montana is ranked 23rd in treys made per game (8.5), 33rd in total 3-pointers made (222), 52nd in 3-point attempts (578), and 56th in TO margin (1.9).

MONTANA GRIZZLIES (16-10/12-3) PPG RPG MISC.
F-12-Martin Breunig, 6-8, 217, Jr., TR/RS 16.9 7.1 4th & 6th Sky: ppg/rpg
F-20-Fabijan Krslovic, 6-8, 240, Fr., HS 4.6 4.7 T-18th in Sky in rpg
G-1-Mario Dunn, 6-0, 171, So, 1V 9.0 3.5 4.0 apg/1.8 stls. pg
G-10-Jordan Gregory, 6-2, 194, Sr., 3V 16.7 3.3 5th in Sky in ppg
G-34-Brandon Gfeller, 6-4, 190, So., 1V 9.1 2.8 7th Sky: 43.6 3PT%
6-33-Mike Weisner, F, 6-7, 193, Sr., 3V 6.7 2.3 71 pts. last 8 games
6-2-Riley Bradshaw, G, 6-2, 180, So., 1V 2.9 1.0 9/3/3 in WSU win
6-24-Chris Kemp, F, 6-7, 236, Sr., 1V 2.5 1.7 50.0 FG%
6-31-Jack Lopez, F, 6-5, 200, So., 1V 1.9 1.9 Played in 24 games
Head Coach: Travis DeCuire (Montana, 1994): 16-10, 1st year at UM.

IDAHO VANDALS (10-14/6-8) PPG RPG MISC.
F-13-Bira Seck, 6-6, 215, Sr. 8.0 7.4 3rd in Sky in rpg
F-15-Paulin Mpawe, 6-10, 227, Jr. 2.8 3.0 49.2 FG%
G-2-Sekou Wiggs, 6-4, 182, So. 12.3 3.8 73.6 FT%
G-5-Connor Hill, 6-3, 190, Sr. 16.0 2.1 46.3 3PT%
G-12-Mike Scott, 6-0, 180, Sr. 14.3 3.5 1st Sky: 5.7 apg
6-21-Ardkadiy Mkrtychyan, F, 6-7, 235, Fr. 8.6 5.0 56.1 FG%
Head Coach: Don Verlin (Cal State Stanislaus, 1991)/7th season at UI: 108-110.

SERIES: Idaho leads 106-84, but the Griz have won the last seven in a row.

QUOTING HEAD COACH TRAVIS DECUIRE:

Travis DeCuire ©William Munoz for Make It Missoula

Head Coach Travis DeCuire. Photoby

IDAHO IS VERSATILE, INSIDE-OUTSIDE TEAM: “They are a pretty solid team. They run good stuff on offense and they’ve got guys who can shoot threes and create shots, and that makes them hard to guard.”

HILL & SCOTT ARE BOTH SHOOT GOOD 3-POINTER SHOOTERS: “Yeah, Jordan (Gregory) did a good job on him (Connor Hill, who shoots 46.3% from behind the arc). He held him to what was only about five or six shots, but he made most (Hill was 4-of-5 from the field) of them. He gets the ball off quick and shoots for a good percentage. We just have to do a good job of minimizing his touches”

IDAHO AT 6-8 NEEDS WINS TO MAKE THE EIGHT-TEAM POST-SEASON TOURNEY: “Their backs are against the wall, and when teams are playing in that situation they’re dangerous. We’ve just got to understand that the game is just as important to them as it is to us.”

YOU MUST BE HAPPY WITH THE GRIZ AT 12-3 & TIED FOR FIRST IN THE BIG SKY: “We are excited. We’ve been working hard. We will continue to work hard. We’re still trying to get a little bit better. I don’t think that we’ve reached our peak. It’s one game at a time, and when we’re done with the regular season we’ll look back and see where we are at.”

KEY OR KEYS TO HAVING SUCCESS AGAINST IDAHO: “We’ve got to continue to play really good defense. We’ve got to minimize 3-point shots. We’ve got to contain (Mike) Scott on the dribble. I think he’s the key for them. When he gets going they score, and we’ve just got to control him as much as possible.”