As Sayeed Pridgett and Kendal Manuel checked out of the game for the final time on Jan. 13, fans rose to give them a standing ovation. The senior guards both scored over 15 points in Montana’s 85-70 win over Portland State, with Manuel contributing 27 points and Pridgett adding 17 points.
“With these wins, we’re happy and want to keep it going,” said Pridgett after the game. “We’re trying to use this as momentum.”
Montana boasted the best record in the Big Sky Conference play (4-1) after beating Eastern Washington 90-63 on Jan. 4. Portland State beat Montana State 77-76, before traveling to Missoula to take on the Griz.
Portland State clamped up Montana in a full-court press to begin the game, allowing the Vikings to take an 8-6 lead over UM. But Manuel was able to score on back-to-back possessions later in the first half to give UM a 14-12 lead.
Portland State forward Lamar Hamrick was able to throw down a fast-break dunk after Manuel’s scoring outburst, but he was called for a technical foul after he taunted Montana’s Kyle Owens following the play.
Freshman forward Derrick Carter-Hollinger helped lead UM in a scoring run late in the first half with back-to-back jumpshots that gave the Griz a 25-17 lead. Carter-Hollinger had 13 points in the game along with four rebounds.
UM held its lead over Portland State at halftime with a score of 46-42.
UM used a quick 5-0 scoring run to open up the second half and take a 51-42 lead over Portland State. Pridgett showed off his passing ability later in the second half when he found Carter-Holinger on a nifty alley-oop pass.
Pridgett, who leads UM in scoring, finished the game with 10 assists. “I was extremely happy for my teammates,” said Pridgett regarding his passing. “It felt great knowing my teammates got me when a lot of defenders are focused on me.”
Sophomore forward Mack Anderson also joined the scoring action for UM, and slammed home a dunk to give UM a 75-62 lead. Anderson finished with 10 points along with two blocks.
Portland State couldn’t recover from UM’s flashy plays in the second half, and allowed the Griz to win 85-70.
Monatana’s effort on the defensive end was obvious throughout the second half, allowing Portland State to make only one third of its shots. The Griz also prevented all 3-pointers made by their opponent in the entire game.
“It was a good overall defensive effort,” said Manuel after the game.
With the win, UM’s record will become 9-8 with a 5-1 conference record. Montana’s home record also raises to 7-1 with the win, with its only loss being to Montana Tech.
The next game for the Grizzlies will be played at home against Idaho on Jan. 18, before they travel to Idaho to take on Idaho State on Jan. 23.