(Editor's note: Montana athletics press release)
MISSOULA—Coming off of three consecutive wins, Montana suffered a tough defeat on Monday night, falling at Oregon – a team that has won back-to-back Pac-12 titles and opened the season ranked No. 13 nationally – 87-47.
The 40-point defeat was Montana's second-worst in eight seasons under Travis DeCuire, as the Grizzlies were without starting point guard and their best defender in Brandon Whitney.
"It exposed some things because we put him against the best perimeter player and he cleans up so many things defensively," DeCuire said of Whitney's absence. "We didn't have a starting point defensively in terms of match-ups, and that caught up to us."
While Montana couldn't slow down the Ducks defensively, with Oregon shooting .660 (31-of-47), Montana also couldn't get much going offensively, making just 12 shots on .261 shooting. Montana's field-goal percentage and field-goal defense were both worsts under DeCuire, as was Montana's rebounding total (15) and rebounding margin (-26).
"We had some shots rim out early, and then they put their heads down and did a good job of getting to the paint, and we did not do a good job of contesting shots and keeping them out of the paint. The athleticism prevailed tonight."
Although Montana was out-rebounded by Oregon, the Griz did limit the Ducks to six offensive boards, including just five second-chance points.
Montana got as good of a start as it could have hoped for, winning the opening tip before Robby Beasley III knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Griz an early lead. On the Grizzlies' next trip up the court, Lonnell Martin hit a 3-pointer to put Montana on top 6-0.
The Griz led 8-4 following a Mack Anderson dunk, but didn't score again for 7 minutes, as Oregon went on an 11-0 run, part of a spurt in which the Ducks made 12 consecutive shots to double up the Griz, 34-17, with 8 minutes, 53 seconds left in the first half.
"I thought they (Oregon) executed their offense a lot better than they had all year," DeCuire said. "They were desperate for a win, so their ears were pinned back, their crowd was behind them and they grabbed some momentum and ran with it."
In total, Montana had two 7-minute stretches in the first half without a made field goal, and finished the game with just two makes over the final 11:39.
Coming off of a career-high 20 points, Martin led the Grizzlies once again, making four 3-pointers and totaling 12 points. Beasley finished with nine points, while Anderson totaled eight. In the second half, Senior Cameron Parker [gogriz.com], who was playing in his home state and earned the start, totaled five assists, including each of Montana's first three buckets.
DeCuire was also able to empty his bench, getting a career-high 14 minutes from Freddy Brown III [gogriz.com].
Montana will stay on the road this week to open up Big Sky Conference play, traveling to Sacramento State (Thursday) and Northern Colorado (Saturday).
"I tried to give guys some long stretches of rest, which didn't necessarily benefit us tonight, but hopefully will on Thursday.
"I don't want to erase this from our memories. I think we should be a little bit upset, a little bit disappointed and a little bit embarrassed. We need to use this as motivation these next couple of days to prepare for a conference opponent. We know what type of defense we play and what we need to do on both sides of the ball to be a good basketball team. This should be fuel toward our fire.