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University of Montana forward Kyle Owens shoots against the Bobcats in the first half of the Griz-Cat game in Dahlberg Arena, Feb. 1, 2020. Owens led the Griz in scoring against the University of Georgia, with 17 points, on Dec 8, 2020.

The Montana men's basketball team traveled over 1800 miles from Missoula to Athens, Georgia, for their second Power 5 matchup of the season and their first ever meeting against the University of Georgia. A 50-63 loss sent them to 0-4 on the season. 

A multitude of turnovers plus a slow start offensively dug the Griz an early hole, falling behind 19-5 within the first six minutes. 

“You can’t turn the ball over 20 times and give up 18 offensive rebounds and think you’re gonna win,” Coach Travis Decuire told announcer Riley Corcoran after the game.

Unlike the loss to USC to open the season, however, the Griz were able to fight back and make the game manageable after an early deficit. Eddy Egun scored nine points in the first half and set a new career high with 11 total.

With four and a half minutes left in the first half, Kyle Owens’ fourth field goal of the night brought the game to the closest it would get since the tip at 22-25. Owens continued his stellar 2020 season with ten points before halftime and 17 total.

“He put a lot of work in between March and September, and I don’t know that anyone is in the gym more than him,” Decuire said.

Brandon Whitney contributed 10 points and Cam Parker contributed six, along with leading the team with five assists. Michael Steadman had a quiet night offensively, only scoring four points, but brought down eight defensive rebounds, along with three blocks. 

The Griz held the Bulldogs to their lowest scoring game of the season. Georgia scored 26 points fewer points than their season average of 89.

Bulldogs forward Toumani Camara recorded the only double double of the night, with 17 boards and 15 points. Camara grabbed eight offensive rebounds, five more than the entire Griz team combined. 

The Bulldogs pulled down 49 total rebounds, 19 more than Montana. 

“I think right now, we’re reactive more so than proactive, but that’s youth, and that’s what happens when your returners are sophomores,” DeCuire said. 

Decuire recognized the room for growth, but isn’t concerned about the losses yet. 

As is the case with sports in 2020, team’s schedules are constantly shifting. It was announced on Tuesday that the Griz would return to Missoula for their first home game of 2020 to play Yellowstone Christian College on Saturday.

The Yellowstone Christian game wasn’t on the first schedule released by UM. The Griz are 0-4 while Georgia moved to 4-0 on the game.