Grizzlies return home for Monday night tilt with Coyotes

Montana owns the nation’s fourth-longest active home winning streak. The Grizzlies have won 17 consecutive home games dating back to the 2016-17 season, trailing only South Dakota State (24), Houston (20) and Charleston (19). (GoGriz.com)

Dahlberg Arena is the place to be at 7 p.m. Monday for fans craving basketball. After opening the year with back-to-back home games, Montana will play just one home contest over a 34-day period, from Nov. 13 through Dec. 16, and it comes Monday night vs. the College of Idaho.

SCOUTING COLLEGE OF IDAHO

  • The College of Idaho enters Monday’s game with a 13-1 record. The Coyotes play at the NAIA level, in the same league as Montana Tech (Frontier).
  • The Coyotes beat Montana Tech, 71-48, four days after the Grizzlies hosted the Orediggers.
  • The team’s lone loss came Nov. 20 to Northwest Nazarene (83-73). Since, it has won four games in a row.
  • The Coyotes average 85.7 points per game and own a +19.9 scoring margin. They make nearly half of their shots overall, including 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.
  • On the flip side, the Coyotes are holding opponents to just .288 shooting from three-point range and average 44.1 rebounds per game.
  • Six players are averaging at least 9.3 points per game, led by Nate Brunell (13.4).
  • The College of Idaho has two players who have made at least half of their three-point attempts: Gibson Berryhill (28-of-56, .500); Justin Saunders (25-of-44, .568).
  • Connor Desaulniers leads the team for rebounding (6.8), but four others average at least 5.3 boards per game.
  • The College of Idaho is coming off of an NAIA semifinals appearance in 2017-18. The team is under the direction of first-year head coach Colby Blaine, who is in his fifth season with the team overall and previously served as associate head coach.

SERIES VS. THE COYOTES
Monday will be the third meeting between Montana and the College of Idaho, and the first nearly four decades. During Montana’s 27-4 campaign in 1949-50, the team’s third game of the season came against the College of Idaho, a 49-point win in Pocatello, Idaho (83-34). The two teams met again in 1981-82, with Montana winning 84-58 at home.

WINNING NOVEMBER
Montana posted a 4-2 record during the opening month of the season, the program’s best November winning percentage since also going 4-2 in 2011-12. That year, the Grizzlies finished the year 26-7 and in the NCAA tournament.

HOT SHOOTING
Montana has made at least half of its shots in five consecutive games, and on the season is connecting on 52.5 percent of its attempts, the eighth-best shooting percentage in the entire country.

The Grizzlies currently have the top two shooters in the Big Sky Conference, with junior Sayeed Pridgett connecting at a 64.3 percent clip and Michael Oguine making 59.6 percent of his shots.

GRIZ TRACKS

  • Montana is averaging 8.5 three-pointers made per game, compared to 5.5 a year ago. It is more than a 200-spot improvement in the NCAA rankings, jumping from 331 a year ago to 113 now.
  • Through six games, the Grizzlies have been led in scoring by five different players.
  • Senior Michael Oguine will play in his 100th career game on Monday. He has made 95 starts, including 60 in a row.
  • After taking just 10 combined attempts over the first two games, Oguine has averaged 10.5 over the last four. On the season, the senior ranks in the top five in the Big Sky for scoring (16.5 points per game, fifth); shooting (.596, second), minutes played (32.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.44, third).
  • Junior Sayeed Pridgett has scored in double figures in five of six games this season, including an incredible performance against Creighton. Twenty-one of his 23 points came in the first half and he totaled a career-high five steals, but most surprising were his four made three-pointers. Pridgett entered the game having made four treys in his entire career. He leads the team for shooting (.643), steals (11) and blocked shots (5) and ranks third for scoring (14.0) and rebounding (4.0).
  • Kendal Manuel is averaging 10.2 points per game and has made at least two three-pointers in five of six contests. The junior is converting nearly half of his three-point attempts on the season (12-of-25) and led the team with 17 points vs. Miami (Ohio).
  • Ahmaad Rorie was named to the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase all-tournament team and was recently one of 50 players nationally named to the Lou Henson Award watch list (nation’s top mid-major player). He has made 63.2 percent of his shots from inside the arc.
  • Senior Bobby Moorehead missed his first 13 three-point attempts to begin the season, but since has made four of his last eight shots from deep.
  • Seven players have made their collegiate or Grizzly debuts this season.
  • Montana is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak since January 2017. Montana’s two losses have come short-handed to opponents with a combined record of 11-4, including a Creighton team who is receiving top-25 votes and was within a few possessions of upsetting No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday.

HOME COOKING
Montana owns the nation’s fourth-longest active home winning streak. The Grizzlies have won 17 consecutive home games dating back to the 2016-17 season, trailing only South Dakota State (24), Houston (20) and Charleston (19).