On their night, seniors power Grizzlies past Southern Utah, 70-54

While Saturday was Senior Night, the Griz have one more home game, Monday vs. Northern Arizona. (GoGriz.com)

On a night that was about celebrating the senior class, it was fitting that the seniors rose up and lifted Montana to a 70-54 victory over Southern Utah.

Michael Oguine nearly recorded a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, in addition to two steals and two blocked shots. Ahmaad Rorie scored 15 points while tallying six assists. Bobby Moorehead also had nine boards, in addition to two blocked shots and four points.

Montana trailed for the majority of the first half before going on a 15-5 run and holding Southern Utah without a point for more than 6 minutes of game action. The Grizzlies took a 31-30 lead with 17:53 to play in the second half and never trailed for the remainder of the game, leading by double digits for the final 6 minutes.

While it was the senior class who got things started early, it was junior Sayeed Pridgett who took over in the second half. Pridgett didn’t score through the game’s first 22 minutes, but then scored seven points in a 93 second span. Through the first 12 minutes of the second half, he had 15 of Montana’s 22 points.

Montana held the lead for the entirety of the second half, but the tide really shifted with less than 8 minutes to play. Leading by four, 51-47, Rorie hit a trey, and made it a four-point play after getting fouled. The next time up the court, he connected on a jumper before lobbing an alley-oop dunk to Oguine on the ensuing possession. One possession later, Oguine hit from deep, again assisted by Rorie, forcing a Southern Utah timeout as the lead had been pushed to 13, 62-49 in just 120 seconds.

Game Notables

  • Montana limited Southern Utah to 54 points, the fewest by a Griz opponent since Idaho scored 51 on Jan. 19, and the fourth-fewest of the season.
  • Montana held Southern Utah without a point for 6:09 midway through the first half. The Thunderbirds shot 0-for-9 with two turnovers during that span.
  • After shooting just 38.5 percent in the first half, the Griz connected on 69.6 percent of their shots in the second half (16-of-23). Overall, Montana shot 53.1 percent, marking the 15th time the team has made at least half of its shots.
  • During a span of 2:00, Montana used an 11-2 run to open up a 13-point lead. Ahmaad Rorie scored six points and had assists on the other two buckets.
  • Montana out-rebounded SUU, 34-23, including nine each from Bobby Moorehead and Michael Oguine. The Thunderbirds had just eight rebounds in the second half.
  • Montana made 73.7 percent of its free throws (14-of-19).
  • Sayeed Pridgett missed his first four shot attempts but made his final eight. He scored a game-high 20 points, marking the sixth time in the past seven games he has led Montana for scoring. He is averaging 21.1 points per game during that span.
  • Since Jamar Akoh went down with a knee injury, Bobby Moorehead has stepped up and is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game during that span. He was averaging 4.2 prior to that.
  • Moorehead also recorded a pair of blocks in the first half, including one in which he chased down SUU’s Brandon Better and made an incredible block after being several steps behind him.
  • Rorie turned the ball over twice in the game’s first 8 minutes but didn’t record another turnover. He had six assists over the final 25 minutes of game action to increase his league-best assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Timmy Falls scored all seven of his points in the first half, including a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer that game Montana the lead.
  • No Thunderbird player made more than three field goals.
  • Montana has won 26 of its past 28 games inside Dahlberg Arena, dating back to February 2017.
  • Looking Ahead
    While Saturday was Senior Night, the Griz have one more home game, Monday vs. Northern Arizona. Fans can get in free by donating to SAAC’s “One Shirt One Body” T-shirt drive. Three used T-shirts equals one free general-admission ticket; one new T-shirt (with tags on) earns two free general-admission tickets. In order to take advantage of the ticket offer, fans must visit the T-shirt drive table, which will be located in the main lobby of the Adams Center.

    Montana has a half-game lead over second-place Northern Colorado in the Big Sky standings. The Grizzlies have three games remaining on their schedule; the Bears have two.