Montana basketball: Griz prove too much for Orediggers

Montana improved to 2-0 on the young season with a 79-55 victory over Montana Tech on Monday night. The Grizzlies were paced by five players in double figures and forced 20 turnovers on the defensive end.

The Grizzlies turned a 21-17 advantage midway through the first half into a rout, using a 19-4 run to close the first half and extending it to 29-6 to begin the second half. During that stretch, Montana held Montana Tech without a made field goal for more than 10 minutes of action, with the Orediggers going 0-for-10 from the floor with six turnovers.

“I think we were a little flat early, but that happens coming off of a game like Friday,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “We were trying some other things on ball screens, and they were getting shots instead of us forcing turnovers. Once we went back to being aggressive and started forcing turnovers, that’s when we got going.”

More than half of the turnovers were in result of a Montana steal, led by four from Michael Oguine and three from Ahmaad Rorie. Rorie led all players with 20 points and six rebounds, while Kendal Manuel scored 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

Also in double figures were Donaven Dorsey (11), Timmy Falls (10) and Sayeed Pridgett (10).

While the defense held Montana Tech to 37.3 percent shooting, the Grizzlies shot 52.7 percent, making seven consecutive shots late in the first half.

Additional Notes

  • Three days after a trio of players made their Griz debuts, three more saw their first collegiate action: freshman Freddy Brown, freshman Ben Carter and redshirt freshman Peter Jones. Carter scored two points and grabbed a rebound in seven minutes of action. Jones had a rebound.
  • After playing one minute on Friday night vs. Georgia State, redshirt freshman Kelby Kramer saw his first significant time on the court, logging 16 minutes. The 6-10 big man had a two-handed dunk in the first half – his first career points – in addition to four rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist.
  • Montana’s 20 turnovers led to 27 points off turnover, including 13 fast-break points.
  • Montana opened the game just 1-for-7 from three-point range, but finished the game by making seven of its final 16 long-range shots (43.8 percent).
  • Sophomore guard Timmy Falls earned his first career start. The Grizzlies used an all-guard starting lineup.
  • Montana has now won 17 consecutive home games dating back to the 2016-17 season. It is the fourth-longest active streak in the country.
  • Montana Tech’s assistant coach is Derek Selvig, a former Griz star who played from 2007-12 and helped the Grizzlies to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.

Quoting DeCuire
(on Ahmaad Rorie, who led the Grizzlies with 20 points)
“He’s got it going. I thought he played tonight more like he has been practicing. He communicated and he got us in sync. I thought he played well.”

(on a smaller starting lineup)
“That’s where the timing of this game is good for us. We didn’t get many paint touches early, so playing outside in, never really works percentage-wise for very many teams. Once we started touching the paint, our percentages jumped.”

(on the play of junior Kendal Manuel)
“I thought he played well. Not only is he making shots, but he’s helping us out in terms of stretching the floor.”

(on transfer Donaven Dorsey)
“Each game, I think he’ll continue to get better. In addition to getting him closer to game shape, he’s seeing the ball go through the hoop, which creates confidence.”

Looking Ahead
Montana will have another quick turnaround, practicing on Tuesday before departing Wednesday morning for Nassau. There, the Grizzlies will play three games in three days at the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase. First up is a meeting with Incarnate Word Friday at 9 a.m. MT.