Griz Host Eagles Thursday Feb 5

By DAVE GUFFEY

THE GAME: The University of Montana Grizzlies (11-9/7-2 BSC) host the second-place Eastern Washington Eagles (16-5/7-1) in a crucial Big Sky Conference game, Thursday, Feb. 5, in UM’s Dahlberg Arena, with tip-off at 7:05 p.m. (Mtn.).

UP NEXT? Montana continues league action, hosting the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, Feb. 7.

RADIO: 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.

STREAMING/TV: The UM-EWU game is available via video and audio streaming on gogriz.com with a subscription. It will also be video streamed on WatchBigSky.com. There is no television coverage.

GRIZ LAST GAME-At Sacramento State 70, Montana 69: Hornet guard Dylan Garrity hit a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left for the game-winner. Guard Brandon Gfeller led the Griz with a game-high 20 points.

GREGORY MOVES UP: Gregory’s 1,011 career points, moves him up to 28th on the career list. He is the 29th player to score 1,000 or more career points at UM.

WEISNER PLAYING IN 100TH CAREER GAME: Forward Mike Weisner, a senior from Walla Walla, Wash., will be playing in his 100th career game versus EWU.

GRIZ IN NCAAS (as of 2/3/15): Bruenig is ranked 11th in field goal percentage (59.3%) and 74th in scoring (17.4 ppg). Gregory is 37th in three-pointers made per game (2.8) and 91st in scoring (17.0 ppg). Montana is ranked 27th in treys per game (8.3), 41st in fewest turnovers (239), and 59th in TO margin (1.9).

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Martin Bruenig. Photo by ©William Munoz for Make itMissoula.

SERIES: The Griz lead 64-39. Montana leads the series 26-7 in Dahlberg Arena and the Griz have won 12 in a row in Missoula. Montana has won 5 of the last 6. UM has won 19 of the last 23 games against EWU.

Quoting Griz Head Coach Travis DeCuire

2015-02-05_0910ON EWU GAME: “They’re going to have four 3-point shooters on the floor a lot, with good penetraters with the ball in their hands. (Tyler) Harvey can do both – penetrate and shoot, with deep range. They’re tough to cover. They are about as tough of a match-up as we’ve seen all year; maybe similar toBoise.”

THEY LEAD THE LEAGUE IN FG% AND ARE ALSO VERY GOOD FROM THE LINE: “It’s going to be hard to foul to get your way back into the game. You’re going to have to go possession by possession if you get down. The key is to stay in the thing and try to force some mistakes.

“For us, they’re going to come in here and challenge our defense. What we’re hoping is, when you have the top defense versus the top offense, that the defense tends to hold ground a little bit. On the flip-side, statistically they are maybe the worst defensive team in the league, so we’re hoping to gain some ground in that category.”

YOUR TEAM IS STILL IN THE THICK OF THE BIG SKY RACE & IT IS KEY TO WIN AT HOME: “No question. And today (Wednesday, Feb. 4) we’re really going to try to give these guys a ton of confidence going in. Because it’s easy to question yourself after you let a big game (a 70-69 loss at Sacramento State last Saturday) slip away, knowing that the team coming in is better offensively than the one you just played.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, and it’s also a pretty tricky situation just in terms of where we are at. It’s a big night for us.”

YOUR KEY OR KEYS TO THE EWU GAME?: “The number one key is going to be to minimize 3-point attempts. They shoot it well enough, that if they get it off it’s going to go in, So we’ve got to minimize their attempts, and force guys to put it on the floor who don’t want to, and make them move the ball; which is not really what they want to do. They’re more of a one-pass, two-pass shot team. They do make good passes, but I think if we get them to make three or four passes they probably could get stagnant.”

E_WA