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Montana rallies past E. Wash. to earn NCAA Tournament berth

RENO, Nevada (AP) Three straight nights, three consecutive comebacks and the Montana Grizzlies are Big Sky Conference champions and heading to the NCAA Tournament.

Michael Oguine scored 21 points and top-seeded Montana rallied to an 82-65 victory over Eastern Washington in the Big Sky title game on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies trailed 40-29 at halftime, but outscored the Eagles 53-25 in the second half, spurred by an unrelenting defense that had 18 stops in 19 possessions in one extended stretch.

''You saw a group slow down a very explosive offensive team,'' Montana coach Travis DeCuire said. ''For us to hold them to 36 percent in the second half and outscore them by 26 points, that's defense.''

Oguine, the tournament's MVP, had only 3 points in the first half, but said the defense helped turn his game around.

''Defense is contagious,'' he said. ''(My teammates) started getting stops and I started to get back in my rhythm.''

The Eagles led for much of the first half and went ahead 50-43 after a 3-pointer by Mason Peatling with 14:30 left. The Grizzlies scored the next 11-points as part of a 25-8 run that put them up 75-58 with 2:30 remaining. Oguine scored 15 of the 25 points in the stretch.

Ahmaad Rorie had 15 points, Bobby Morehead scored 12 and Fabijan Krslovic had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Montana (26-7), which is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.

Montana hit 17 of its 27 shots (63 percent) in the second half, including 6 of 12 3-pointers.

Jacob Davison had 16 points and Bogdan Bliznyuk and Pleating scored 15 each to lead Eastern Washington (20-14).

The third-seeded Eagles hit 53 percent of their shots in the first half (16 of 30), but struggled from the field in the second half, hitting only 5 of 15 shots, including 1 of 7 3-pointers.

UP NEXT

Eastern Washington: Faces an uncertain postseason future.

Montana: Awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding.

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Key Players
B. Bliznyuk
32 G/F
A. Rorie
14 G
37.8 Min. Per Game 37.8
19.5 Pts. Per Game 19.5
3.7 Ast. Per Game 3.7
4.5 Reb. Per Game 4.5
50.3 Field Goal % 42.5
41.3 Three Point % 32.9
82.4 Free Throw % 80.0
+ 2 Jacob Davison made driving layup 26.0
+ 2 Ahmaad Rorie made jump shot 30.0
  Defensive rebound by Bobby Moorehead 1:00
  Bogdan Bliznyuk missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:02
+ 1 Fabijan Krslovic made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:08
+ 1 Fabijan Krslovic made 1st of 2 free throws 1:08
  Personal foul on Mason Peatling 1:08
+ 1 Jacob Davison made free throw 1:08
  Shooting foul on Bobby Moorehead 1:08
+ 2 Jacob Davison made driving layup 1:08
+ 2 Timmy Falls made finger-roll layup 1:15
Team Stats
Points 65 82
Field Goals 27-60 (45.0%) 29-49 (59.2%)
3-Pointers 9-24 (37.5%) 9-18 (50.0%)
Free Throws 2-3 (66.7%) 15-20 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 26 30
Offensive 8 5
Defensive 15 25
Team 3 0
Assists 10 13
Steals 3 7
Blocks 0 2
Turnovers 9 8
Fouls 17 11
Technicals 0 0
16 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST
21 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo E. Wash. 20-14 402565
home team logo Montana 26-7 295382
Team Stats
away team logo E. Wash. 20-14 74.8 PPG 35.5 RPG 12.6 APG
home team logo Montana 26-7 77.2 PPG 40.2 RPG 12.6 APG
Key Players
10
J. Davison G 7.2 PPG 2.8 RPG 0.5 APG 48.4 FG%
0
M. Oguine G 15.8 PPG 5.5 RPG 2.0 APG 46.1 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Davison G 16 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
M. Oguine G 21 PTS 3 REB 1 AST
45.0 FG% 59.2
37.5 3PT FG% 50.0
66.7 FT% 75.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
B. Bliznyuk 40 15 7 4 0 0 6 1 7/15 1/2 0/0 1 6
M. Peatling 29 15 4 0 0 0 0 5 7/9 0/0 1/2 2 2
J. Perry 35 9 3 1 1 0 1 2 3/8 3/7 0/0 0 3
C. Benzel 19 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 1/5 1/5 0/0 0 0
T. Gibson 22 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 1/4 1/4 0/0 0 0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
B. Bliznyuk 40 15 7 4 0 0 6 1 7/15 1/2 0/0 1 6
M. Peatling 29 15 4 0 0 0 0 5 7/9 0/0 1/2 2 2
J. Perry 35 9 3 1 1 0 1 2 3/8 3/7 0/0 0 3
C. Benzel 19 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 1/5 1/5 0/0 0 0
T. Gibson 22 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 1/4 1/4 0/0 0 0
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Davison 24 16 7 1 1 0 0 3 6/10 3/3 1/1 4 3
B. Griciunas 9 4 2 0 0 0 0 2 2/2 0/0 0/0 1 1
S. Washington 20 0 0 3 0 0 1 2 0/7 0/3 0/0 0 0
G. Gibb 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
J. Hunt 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
J. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Vulikic - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Aiken Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Groves - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Howard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Kidd - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Polanco - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 65 23 10 3 0 9 17 27/60 9/24 2/3 8 15
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
M. Oguine 31 21 3 1 2 1 1 3 6/8 3/4 6/6 0 3
A. Rorie 34 15 2 5 1 0 2 2 5/9 2/3 3/4 0 2
B. Moorehead 35 12 5 3 0 0 0 2 4/10 3/9 1/2 0 5
F. Krslovic 26 11 10 1 1 0 1 0 3/5 0/0 5/8 3 7
J. Akoh 26 6 5 1 0 0 1 1 3/4 0/0 0/0 2 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
M. Oguine 31 21 3 1 2 1 1 3 6/8 3/4 6/6 0 3
A. Rorie 34 15 2 5 1 0 2 2 5/9 2/3 3/4 0 2
B. Moorehead 35 12 5 3 0 0 0 2 4/10 3/9 1/2 0 5
F. Krslovic 26 11 10 1 1 0 1 0 3/5 0/0 5/8 3 7
J. Akoh 26 6 5 1 0 0 1 1 3/4 0/0 0/0 2 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
T. Falls 23 9 2 1 1 1 0 0 4/7 1/2 0/0 0 2
S. Pridgett 22 8 3 1 2 0 3 3 4/6 0/0 0/0 0 3
T. Spoja 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
A. Besovic - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Bevens 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
L. Espe 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
P. Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Kramer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Nicholas - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 82 30 13 7 2 8 11 29/49 9/18 15/20 5 25