Griz Men's Basketball Loses to Pepperdine University on the Road - News, Sports and Weather

Griz Men's Basketball Loses to Pepperdine University on the Road

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Griz can’t complete comeback, fall to Pepperdine 63-69

Martin Breunig posted his second double-double in as many games for the Montana men’s basketball team, but for the second game in a row, it wasn’t enough to give UM the win, as the Griz fell to the Pepperdine Waves 63-69 on Sunday in Malibu, California.

In a game where the Griz shot an ice cold 1-16 on three-point attempts, it was still anyone’s game in the closing minutes thanks to Breunig, who led all scorers with 28 points and 10 rebounds.  The Griz now fall to 2-3 on the young season with both wins coming at home in Missoula.

Pepperdine, who were picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference this season with all five starters returning, took advantage of UM’s 13 turnovers and an eight point halftime lead to contain the Grizzly fight back.

All-WCC senior forward Stacy Davis led the Waves with 16 points.

“We knew this was a good team, and I thought we were prepared, said Montana head coach Travis DeCuire in his post game radio interview.

“We came in and executed some things very well early in the game. We just had some mental breakdowns that cost us, because we win in almost every category that matters the most, with the exception of our turnovers.”

Rebounding was one of those categories that kept the Griz within striking range of Pepperdine, with the Griz outrebounding the Waves 34-29 and holding the hosts to nine offensive rebounds, just 10 days after they picked up 19 offensive boards against UCLA.

Breunig banked 12 points and five rebounds in the first half alone, indicating he was well on his way to another double-double. But the Griz gave up five turnovers and went 1-10 from the three-point line to dig a 29-37 hole at the break. Pepperdine led by as many as 10 in the first half, it’s largest lead of the game.

Montana would fight back, and dig itself out of the hole in the second half sparked by six points each from freshmen duo Michael Oguine and Bobby Moorehead to close the gap.

With 7:21 to play, Breunig then moved some defenders and hit a jumper to tie the game at 50.

However, a foul by Krslovic and a turnover from Gfeller in less than a minute gave Pepperdine four quick points, and the permanent lead.

“We had a couple stretches where he (Breunig) was playing well, and we turned the ball over a couple times trying to get him the ball instead of being patient, and getting the second, third side,” added Coach DeCuire.

“We had some mental breakdowns defensively. There were a couple times we went to double, and didn’t rotate back side, and gave up easy layups. We know better than that, we just didn’t execute very well.”

Junior transfer Walter Wright looked to spark Montana’ guard play by driving the paint and dishing against the Waves, collecting 12 points, a career-high seven rebounds and three assists.

His stat total could have translated into a triple-double had he picked up a few more boards, and his would be assists to three-point shooters gone in the hole.

“We loosened some things up for him (Wright) to be more aggressive,” said DeCuire.

“He was trying to find some guys, and he made some great passes, but right now, we’re not shooting the ball well enough, so when he gets in the paint and kicks to the three-point shooters, he only finishes the game with three assists, and we go 1-16 on threes.

“There’s seven or eight great plays that could have been eight or nine assists for him on the night.”

With his second 28-point performance in a row, Breunig now brings his points-per-game average up to an even 20, and his rebounds up to and even10 per-contest to give him a double-double average so far this season.

Breunig’s 20-point average is currently the third best in the Big Sky Conference behind Weber State’s Jeremy Senglin and Portland State’s Cameron Forte, both of whom are averaging just over 22-points per game.

The Griz now prepare to face two more West Coast Conference teams in a row as UM hosts the University of San Francisco at Dahlberg Arena on Friday, Dec. 4, followed by a road trip to face the AP’s No. 10 in the nation, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, on Dec. 8.

The USF Dons are sitting at 4-2 so far this season, and are led by sophomore guard Devin Watson who is averaging better than 18-points per game.

Tipoff at Dahlberg Arena against San Francisco is set for 7:00 p.m. on Friday.

Montana Sports Information

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