MISSOULA, Montana--Montana came back from an 11-point deficit to edge Boise State 74-72 last night in the season opener for both teams.
The Grizzlies shot nearly half as many free throws, 36, as points in the win. Montana outscored the Broncos 24-8 at the charity stripe, obviously a key factor in a tight and hard-fought game. Boise State outshot the Grizzlies 56.0% to 47.7%, but clearly lost the game at the free-throw line.
Anthony Drmic scored a game-high 23 points in his return to the Bronco lineup. It was Drmic's first regular season game since December 6 of last year.
Drmic's three consecutive three-pointers put Boise State ahead 58-47 with 10:45 remaining. But Montana rallied to cut the lead to 65-63 with 4:20 left. James Webb III, who had been sitting on the bench in foul trouble most of the night, returned for a thunder dunk, but on the ensuing defensive possession was whistled for his fifth foul.
Montana sank a three-pointer to lead for the first time in the second half, 70-69. Mikey Thompson hit two free throws to put the Broncos up 71-70, but the Grizzlies scored the final four points of the game.
Boise State's Nick Duncan fired a three-pointer up with less than 10 second remaining, only to see it go halfway down the rim and fall out.
Drmic finished 5-11 from beyond the arc to give him 219 treys for his career, enabling him to pass former teammate Jeff Elorriaga for third-place all-time in career three-pointers.
Thompson scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting, many on drives for easy layups. Webb, Boise State's second-leading scorer last season, finished with six points and two rebounds before fouling out. Drmic, the Broncos' other main threat, as well as top offensive guns Duncan and Chandler Hutchison, all were whistled for four fouls.
Martin Breunig scored 21 points, while freshman Michael Oguine scored 17 and Brandon Gfeller added 10, including the go-ahead three-pointer.
Boise State hosts Northern Arizona Monday in Taco Bell Arena. Tipoff is 7 PM Mountain Time.