Montana guts out 71-69 win over Miami (Ohio), advances to tourney championship

When the Grizzlies begin playing basketball in March, more than likely, they’ll sit back and remember Saturday afternoon and the grittiness they displayed in a comeback win over Miami (Ohio) to advance to the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase championship game.

Montana, which fought back to take a three-point lead with 6 minutes to play, found itself trailing by six, 68-62, with just over 3 minutes on the clock. Enter Ahmaad Rorie.

Up to that point, the senior had just six points. He scored nine over the next 3 minutes – knocking down three three-pointers – including a clutch shot as the shot clock was winding down, from way past NBA range, to give Montana a 71-69 lead with 13 seconds to play.

The RedHawks drove the length of the court to quickly tie the game at 71-71, but Sayeed Pridgett was fouled on his mid-range jumper from the corner with 1.2 seconds to play, and calmly knocked down both free throws to give the Grizzlies a big win.

“A couple years ago, I think we’d lose these games,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “We’re finding ways to win. For Sayeed to not really have his night and still get to the free-throw line and make two free throws with virtually no time on the clock is huge. It’s an example of a bunch of guys doing things that matter. We got a couple charges when we needed possessions, we changed our scheme off the ball screen on the fly, we had guys playing their part and executing.”

Game Notes:

  • For the third consecutive game, Montana made at least half of its shots (50.0 percent, 23-of-46). Montana made 47.4 percent of its shots (9-of-19) from beyond the arc. In addition to Rorie’s three late in the game, Donaven Dorsey had three treys, Kendal Manuel had two and Bobby Moorehead made one.
  • Manuel led all players with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting. With the Griz trailing by a season-high eight points, 42-34, Manuel scored eight straight UM points to bring the score to 46-42. Moments later, he gave Montana its largest lead of the second half with a three-point play (58-55).
  • Dorsey scored 14 points, including three three-pointers. His third trey came with 6:41 remaining in the game, and gave Montana its first lead of the second half (55-53).
  • Pridgett will be remembered for his two clutch free throws, but the junior also had three consecutive buckets early in the first half, including a steal and fast-break dunk.
  • Montana trailed in the first half 27-20 before closing on a 12-6 run to get within a point at the intermission.
  • Montana won despite being out-rebounded by double digits (33 to 22, including 15-6 on the offensive glass).
  • Montana has opened the season with four consecutive victories for the first time since 1995-96 (5-0).