Montana junior Mike Oguine made his impact Saturday with a career-high 39 points, and although he was playing on a rolled ankle the majority of the second half Saturday, he stepped up on the defensive end, too.
With the Griz up 79-69 and 5:16 left, the 6-foot-2, 171-pound guard knew the contact could be rough, but he slid his feet over anyway. He met Ryan Edwards, Portland State’s 7-foot-1, 290-pound forward, and drew the charge, disqualifying Edwards from the game with five fouls.
“He was getting deep post touches, finishing well, getting our guys in foul trouble,” Oguine told 406mtsports.com in a phone call. “I knew we needed one more to get him out. I saw him keep the ball on a handoff and try to go the rim. We worked all week on rotating early on the baseline and being the help.
“He’s a big dude. I’m just glad he didn’t land on top of me. That wouldn’t have been fun. It felt good to sacrifice my body, take one for the team. That’s the best feeling because it gets everyone hyped.”
Oguine scored 24 of his points in the second half as the Griz erased a six-point halftime deficit and made their free throws down the stretch to beat Portland State, 92-89, at Lewis and Clark College in Portland.
Montana improved to 6-0 to start Big Sky play despite giving up over 80 points for the first time this season.
The Griz turned the ball over 19 times — just seven times in the second half — and gave up 22 points off those. Although they were out-rebounded 19-11 on the offensive glass, both teams finished with 18 second-chance points. The Vikings put up 24 3-pointers and made just five, while Montana made 5 on 11 attempts.
“For us, it was our poise, the way we took care of the ball and then we got the shots we wanted when it mattered,” DeCuire told KGVO Radio regarding the difference in the second half.
The teams combined for 18 lead changes and were tied nine times. They totaled 57 fouls, and the slower pace and clock stoppages worked in Montana’s favor.
“That was a slugfest between two good teams,” Portland State head coach Barret Perry said after the game on the WatchBigSky.com stream.
Oguine shot 12 of 17 in the open floor of the Vikings’ press and went 12 of 16 at the free-throw line. He added a season-high eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 35 minutes.
His 39 points surpassed the 29 he scored against Pitt on Nov. 13. It’s the highest point total by a Griz player since Anthony Johnson scored a school-record 42 in the 2010 Big Sky championship game win over Weber State.
"I've scored (39 or more) before," Oguine said of high school and AAU. "Nothing like it at this level, so it's pretty cool. I'm glad my teammates did a good job getting me the ball in good spots."
Ahmaad Rorie added 16 points, Fabijan Krslovic scored a season-high 15 and eight rebounds, and Jamar Akoh finished with 11 points and nine rebounds .
Deontae North paced Portland State with 18 points, and Bryce Canda added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Holland Woods chipped in 16 points, Derek Brown scored 12, and Edwards had 11.
The teams traded the lead 15 times in the first half, with Montana leading by as many as four points and the Vikings up by as many as six. The Griz switched between zone and man defenses when Portland State went to a five-guard lineup, but the Vikings still closed the half on a 19-7 run that put Montana down 48-42.
Oguine scored six points as part of an 11-4 run to open the second half as the Griz reclaimed the lead, 53-52 lead.
“We kind of saw his eyes light up a little bit, so we said, ‘Hey, everybody just spread out, let him go,’” DeCuire said.
After Portland State took a 56-53 lead Montana went on an 11-0 run with six points from Oguine. That included a tip-in basket that gave Montana the lead for good with 14:42 to play when he landed, stepped on someone's foot, rolled his ankle and needed to get it re-tapped.
He returned and assisted Krslovic for a dunk to go up 66-58 before a 6-0 Vikings run. Up 70-64, Bobby Moorehead laid out, grabbed a loose ball and got a timeout; the scrum for the ball led to a pair of offsetting technical fouls on both teams.
“It was an emotional lift for us,” DeCuire said. “… I think that that was our best timeout today. I think from there the guys believed we’re going to win this game by all means necessary.”
Montana pushed its lead to 79-66 as Oguine hit a mid-range jumper and knocked down a 3-pointer. Portland State answered with a 10-1 run, but Sayeed Pridgett had a key second-chance basket to end the drought.
In the final two minutes, Pridgett missed a pair of free throws, North split his pair for the Vikings, and the Griz led 84-83 with 1:12 remaining. Rorie hit two free throws, and Krslovic added two following Brown’s missed 3-pointer to make it 88-83.
Oguine made two free throws to push the lead to 90-85, and he split a pair to make it 91-87. Pridgett made 1 of 2 with 4.2 seconds left before Woods made a shot at the buzzer.
“It felt like a home game for us,” Oguine said. “Shout out to fans. It was huge for momentum, helped us a lot.”