University of Montana guard Timmy Falls jumps straight up to score for the Griz just before a timeout. Falls bumped the Griz' score up to 27 points, versus TSU's 21.

Montana and Texas Southern came into their game on Nov. 25 with similar resumes. Both teams played in postseason tournaments in 2019, and both teams had a record of 1-4. But Montana was able to use its home-court advantage to outlast Texas Southern, 74-62.

“Its great,” said senior forward Sayeed Pridgett about the Griz’s win. “We needed this win.”

The game started out in a back-and-forth battle with Texas Southern, who took an early 10-6 lead over the Griz. Pridgett was able to convert an and-one in order to put UM within a point of Texas Southern. Pridgett finished with a team-high 19 points in the game and added seven rebounds and four assists.

Montana was able to go on a 6-0 run later in the first half, which included Pridgett finding junior guard Timmy Falls on a smooth backdoor pass for a layup. Falls was able to add 11 points for UM along with three assists.

UM was able to hold its lead over Texas Southern at halftime, 33-29.

Montana raced ahead in the second half, making 61.9% of its shots, as opposed to its first half-field goal percentage of 45.5%. Montana’s hot shooting included three 3-pointers in the second half. The team didn’t make any 3-pointers in the first half.

Two of UM’s 3-pointers came from senior guard Kendal Manuel and freshman guard Josh Vazquez to help the team open up a 47-40 lead. Manuel finished with 15 points and six rebounds in the game, while Vazquez added 10 points.

Dahlberg Arena erupted in cheers when Falls found Pridgett for an alley-oop that would put UM in the driver’s seat with a 60-46 lead.

“Before the play I was like, I don’t want to get up for this because I know Timmy Falls is going to throw that pass,” said Pridgett about the alley-oop. “It was just great when I caught it and dunked it.”

Texas Southern began pressing UM and was able to narrow the deficit to 65-53 with four minutes left in the game. Texas Southern was led in scoring by forward Yahuza Rasas, who scored 13 points for his team.

A foul was called on UM senior forward Jared Samuelson, which led to a chorus of boos and jeers from the Montana crowd. Montana head coach Travis DeCuire engaged in a yelling match with a referee.

Texas Southern reduced Montana’s lead to 68-58, after both teams made free throws.

Sayeed Pridgett responded to the controversial call by scoring and drawing a foul from Texas Southern to help Montana pull ahead 70-58 with two minutes remaining in the game.

Montana held off Texas Southern for the rest of the game, winning 74-62.

Falls, Pridgett, Vazquez and Manuel were the four Montana players who scored in double digits. Samuelson scored his first points of the season for UM in the game and finished with 3 points total.

“It was good to see. I liked the way he defended and rebounded the ball,” said DeCuire about Samuelsson’s performance.

The win improved Montana’s record to 2-4 overall, while Texas Sothern’s record dropped to 1-5. 

UM’s next game will be against Coppin State at home on Nov. 29.