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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. The Griz won in their 300th match up against the Bobcats 78-64.

Entering Saturday’s Brawl of the Wild against Montana State, Montana hadn’t lost a home game since November. But its bitter rival Montana State hoped to change that. Despite MSU’s upset hopes, the UM men continued their dominance on their home floor with a 78-64 victory in front of 7,040 noisy fans.

“I haven’t been involved in too many games that have more energy,” said UM head coach Travis DeCuire after the game.

During the first five minutes of the game, both teams exchanged blows. But UM managed to pull ahead to a 13-10 lead.

Later in the first half, UM senior guards Kendal Manuel and Sayeed Pridgett drained back-to-back 3-pointers, giving UM a strong 34-23 lead over MSU. Pridgett finished the game with 24 points while Manuel finished with 10.

When asked how he felt about playing against MSU for the last time ever at home, Pridgett responded, “I didn’t want it to be done, so I’m just trying to keep my mind off of it to be honest.”

UM made 10 3-pointers in the first half, while only allowing MSU to make five of their 3-point attempts. Manuel made a 3-pointer with only seconds remaining in the first half, boosting UM's lead to 54-39 by halftime.

In the second half, Montana State’s senior guard Harald Frey demonstrated his prowess. Frey made a couple deep 3-pointers five minutes into the second half, helping his team come within 7 points of UM. Frey finished the game with a whopping 37 points.

“It’s a special environment,” said Frey about the Brawl of the Wild. "People talk about all the hate these places [Bozeman and Missoula] have for each other, but I think both schools wouldn’t want it any other way. “

UM freshman forward Kyle Owens made two free throws to expand UM’s lead to 74-60 with 2:15 remaining in the game. Owens finished with 14 points in the game.

As Frey stepped up to the free-throw line late in the game, the UM student section began chanting “USA! USA!” at Frey, who was born in Norway. Frey missed both free-throws and shortly after, UM freshman forward Derrick Carter-Hollinger made a tough layup for the Griz. Carter-Hollinger finished with 7 points and eight rebounds in the game.

UM won its 300th meeting with MSU 78-64, making its season record 12-10. The win also expanded UM’s home record to 8-1 and its conference record to 8-3.

UM’s next game will be at home against Eastern Washington on Feb. 6. The Griz will replay MSU for the second half of the Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman on Feb. 22.