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.”
- 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).