FACTS & STATS: Site: John M. Belk Arena (5,223) -- Davidson, North Carolina.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Montana 11-1, Davidson 10-1. Away Record:
Montana 8-3, Davidson 8-4. Neutral Record: Montana 0-1, Davidson 2-2.
Conference Record: Montana 15-1, Davidson 15-1. Series Record: First-ever
GAME NOTES: The Montana Grizzlies head across the country for a BracketBusters
matchup against the Davidson Wildcats at John M. Belk Arena on Saturday.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the
Montana bounced back from its first Big Sky Conference loss of the season last
Saturday with a 61-54 victory at Idaho State. The win improved the Grizzlies
to a 19-5 overall record which includes a respectable 8-3 mark in true road
tests. Coach Wayne Tinkle's unit relies heavily on the trio of Mathias Ward,
Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar for production. Ward is pacing the team with 14.8
ppg, while Cherry and Jamar contribute just over 13 points and four assists
per outing apiece.
The three-headed attack of Montana supplied 32 of its 61 points in its win
over the Bengals last weekend. Cherry went just 1-of-8 from the floor for 10
points, but he managed to rack up 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a
pair of blocks to make up for his poor field-goal efficiency. Mike Weisner
chipped in 10 points off the bench, as the Grizzlies connected on 45.5 percent
of their field-goal tries and 13-of-17 at the charity stripe. Montana is third
in the Big Sky in both scoring (70.7 ppg) and scoring defense (64.9).
Bob McKillop's Wildcats notched their 11th win in a row on Wednesday as they
completed a 73-36 rout of the Furman Paladins to rise to a 15-1 record in
Southern Conference action. All but two of Davidson's wins during the current
winning streak have come by double-digit margins. Belk Arena has been kind to
its owners, as the Wildcats are 10-1 at home after winning their last nine
there. Davidson has a trio of solid performers of its own in Jake Cohen,
De'Mon Brooks and Nik Cochran. Cohen is posting 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and
1.7 blocks per contest, while Brooks chimes in with 13.1 points and 6.3 boards
per game. Cochran is netting 10.1 ppg and leads the nation at the charity
stripe with a 95-percent success rate on free-throw attempts.
Brooks and Cohen both registered double-doubles in Davidson's one-sided affair
versus Furman earlier in the week. The win gave the Wildcats 20 wins for the
11th time under McKillop and for the seventh time in nine seasons. Davidson
stifled the Paladins and held them without a field goal in the final 12
minutes of the first half to pull away. The Wildcats have the highest scoring
offense in the SoCon at 72.7 ppg and are just two slots lower in scoring
defense with an allowed average of 62.1 ppg.
The Grizzlies are one of the most efficient teams in the nation, but they will
be facing a competitor that is better overall than all of their Big Sky foes.
Davidson's homecourt advantage will give it a definite edge and it should
match up well enough with Montana to keep its winning streak intact.