It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. It did nothing to change my mind.
The Montana Grizzlies topped UM-Western 75-67 in a game that, sadly, was closer than the final score suggested. Western held a lead of as much as five in the first half and were within one point in the final minutes before the Griz realized what was going on.
OK. I don't want to sound like I'm piling it on Griz hoops right now. I understand this is game No. 2 of a long season. Still - as I suggested a few days ago - is it still not all that hard to believe that D-II MSU Billings could beat this team if they played today?
A glance at the box score suggests the Griz had a solid shooting day. Ryan Staudacher was 7-of-12 with 21 and Jordan Hasquet, Anthony Johnson and Derek Selvig combined for 15 field goals (against only five misses) for 36 points. The problem was 17 turnovers to Western's 9 and just a general lack of killer instinct. There is no reason a Frontier Conference NAIA team should be able to hang around like the Bulldogs did. Northern Arizona played to a subpar 95-63 win over NAIA's Haskell...I mean thats what you'd expect out of an average performance tonight, right?
So, Griz fans, what do you make of tonight's effort?