Pridgett Lifts Grizzlies Past Lights


Montana earned its first victory of the season, pulling out a 64-50 win over MSU Northern on Sunday afternoon.

The win didn’t come easy, as the Lights knocked down 10 of their first 12 shot attempts and raced out to a 25-12 lead. Montana again trailed by 13, 32-19, with under 5 minutes to play in the opening half, but that’s when the turnaround began.

Senior Kendal Manuel knocked down a three-pointer with 3 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the first half, which sparked an 11-0 Griz run heading into the intermission. During the run, Manuel had five points and a steal. Freshman Derrick Carter-Hollinger had four – including an emphatic dunk – while fellow freshman Kyle Owens knocked down a shot in the paint.

Once down 13, Montana held the Lights without a point for the half’s final 4:38, cutting the deficit to just two, 32-30.

Sayeed Pridgett. Photo Courtesy of Grizzly Athletics. 

“That changed the game,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “We’ve got multiple defensive coverages. Right now, I don’t know that we can handle change because it causes a lot of confusion. About the start of that run, we went to one coverage and stuck to it for the rest of the game. Once we got comfortable, we started getting shots.”

Over the final 202 seconds, Montana made five of its six shots, while Northern turned the ball over four times and was 0-for-3 shooting.

The Lights led by as many as six points in the second half, but then senior Sayeed Pridgett took over.

The senior scored 14 consecutive Griz points, turning a 42-37 deficit into a 50-44 lead (14-2 run).

With 13:18 remaining, Pridgett drove to the hoop to give Montana its first lead of the entire day, 43-42, but he was just getting started. He converted the three-point opportunity by knocking down the ensuing free throw, before doing it again moments later. On the afternoon, Pridgett scored a career-high 30 points. He also dished out a team-high four assists and swiped two passes.

As good as Northern was to start the contest offensively, Montana’s defense found a lock-down mode in the second half. The Grizzlies forced 18 turnovers, including two shot-clock violations and several more bad looks as the clock was winding down.

At one point in the second half, Montana held Northern without a point for more than 6 minutes, and over the final 15:49, limited the Lights to just eight points total. During that time, Northern shot 3-of-21 (14.3 percent), while turning the ball over five times. Montana out-scored the Lights 27-8.

“You have to compete every day, no matter who’s on your schedule,” DeCuire said. “The slow start for us defensively was the biggest thing. I thought we missed some open shots and then started pressing. Sometimes you forget that if you’re not making shots, you have to work harder on defense, which we eventually did and that made the difference.”

Game Notables

  • Northern jumped out to a 25-12 lead behind 77 percent shooting. The Lights led by as many as 13 points before Montana closed the first half on an 11-0 run, including a 7-0 spark in just 68 seconds. During that time, Kendal Manuel scored five points and recorded a steal.
  • Montana took its first lead of the game with 13:18 remaining in the contest. The Grizzlies scored 11 consecutive points – all from Pridgett – to turn a 42-37 deficit into a 46-42 lead. Montana never trailed for the remainder of the contest, leading by double digits for the final 3:36.
  • Northern was held without a point for 6 consecutive minutes in the second half, and after scoring 10 points through the first 4:11 of the second period, scored just eight over the final 15:49.
    • Over the final nearly 16 minutes, Northern shot 14.3 percent from the floor (3-of-21) with five turnovers.
  • Montana was led by Pridgett, who scored a career-high 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting. He also made all four of his free-throw attempts.
    • Midway through the second half, Pridgett scored 14 consecutive Griz points, allowing Montana to turn a five-point deficit into a seven-point advantage.
    • For the second consecutive game, Pridgett also led Montana for assists (four) and steals (one).
  • In his second collegiate game (and start), freshman Kyle Owens played 30 minutes and knocked down 5-of-8 shot attempts for 11 points. He also had five rebounds and a blocked shot.
  • Derrick Carter-Hollinger scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting, including four points during the Grizzlies’ late run in the first half. Through two collegiate games, the freshman is shooting 8-of-10 from the floor.
  • Sophomore Mack Anderson led Montana with six rebounds, including three on the offensive glass.
  • Montana took advantage down low, scoring 38 points in the paint, compared to 18 for Northern.
  • Montana forced 18 turnovers, which resulted in 19 points. After turning the ball over 17 times on Wednesday at Stanford, Montana gave it up just nine times on Sunday.
  • Montana made eight of its 10 free-throw attempts.
  • For the second straight game, Montana used just eight players.

Montana will travel to SEC country this weekend, taking on Arkansas (Saturday, 3 p.m. MT). Following a date with the Razorbacks, Montana will host Montana Tech on Monday, Nov. 18.