NIT First Round: At Texas A & M 81, Montana 64


The University of Montana Grizzlies made a gallant run, but their 2014-15 season ended Tuesday evening, as the host Texas A&M Aggies defeated them 81-64 Tuesday in a first round NIT game in the Aggies’ Reed Arena.

The Grizzlies’ and first-year head coach Travis DeCuire ended their surprising and successful season with an overall record of 20-13 record. Montana went 14-4 in the Big Sky Conference to finish as the league’s co-champion, after being picked to finish eighth by the league’s coaches and fifth by the media in the Big Sky’s two preseason polls.

The Aggies improve to 21-11. Texas A&M will now play the winner of the Central Michigan at Louisiana Tech game in a second round NIT game later this week.

After trailing by 18 points (33-15) with 4:53 left until halftime, Montana out-scored Texas A&M 18-5 in the final five minutes of the opening half, cutting the Aggies’ lead to 38-33 at intermission. A big key to the comeback effort by the Griz was the shooting of sophomore guard Brandon Gfeller, who made 4-of-5 three-pointers for 12 points in the first 20 minutes.

The Grizzlies had the lead four different times in the second half, and their final advantage was at 48-46 on a trey by Gfeller with 13:36 left in the game. The Aggies tied the contest at 48-48 for the fourth deadlock after that though, and when senior guard Jordan Green made lay-up with 12:40 remaining in the game. Texas A&M then regained the lead (49-48) when Green converted 1-of-2 free throws, and led the rest of the way.

Texas A&M then went on a run of its own, going up by 18 points again, this time the score was 72-54 on a dunk by junior guard/forward Jalen Jones with 3:31 left to play, and the Aggies coasted the rest of the way for the victory.

Gregory scored a team-high 20 points, while Gfeller added 18, and Breunig had 12 points and led UM with 7 rebounds. It was Gregory’s 13th 20point effort of the season and the 19th in his career.

cornholeJones led the Aggies with a game-high 25 points, while Green and freshman guard Alex Robinson added 15 points each. Jones and senior forward Kourtney Roberson led the Aggies with 8 rebounds each.

With his 1,234 points Gregory moves up to 14th on the career scoring list, passing Charles Davis (1,214 points) and Darren Engellant (1,224 points, 1989-92).

Gregory remains seventh in UM history in points scored in a season with 562. He 87 made three-pointers this season – the third most in UM’s single-season history.

Gregory (562 points) and Breunig (534 points) combined for 1,096 points this season – the highest combination by any two players in Montana’s basketball history in a year. His 192 career three-point makes are the 20th most in Big Sky history, and fifth most ever at UM.

It was the final career game for seniors Gregory, Chris Kemp, and Mike Weisner.

The Aggies will play the winner of the Central Michigan at Louisiana Tech game, on a day and time to be determined.