Washington Makes Easy Work of Montana, 92-62

Led by Marquese Chriss's second-career double-double, the Washington Huskies breezed past Montana 92-62 Saturday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena. In doing so, they spoiled the return of former Washington player Martin Breunig.

Breunig, who played at Montlake for two seasons and is currently averaging over 20 points a game for the Grizzlies, was held to just three points and fouled out with 14:15 left in the second half and the Huskies up 64-38. 

“Just don’t let him catch the ball and if he catches the ball you come baseline and help and recover back and you just play one-on-one," Chriss told the media post-game when asked for their gameplan against the Montana senior. "Sag off and let him shoot because he wants to go left.”

Besides Chriss's 22 points and 11 rebounds, Dejounte 'Baby Boy' Murray had 16, Andrew Andrews 14, and David Crisp 12 for Washington (7-2). 

Michael Oguine led Montana with 22 points. Brandon Gfeller added 12 and Bobby Moorehead 10. 

After starting the game with an 13-0 run, the Huskies gave up eight-straight to Montana, but Washington Head Coach Romar wasn't concerned. 

From that moment, the Huskies used balanced scoring and a long, energetic defense to slowly push away from Montana. By the second television timeout UW was up 21-14; by the third timeout they were up 31-18. And by halftime the Huskies had extended their lead to 22 points, 52-30. 

One of the biggest impediments to Montana's offense was the play of junior transfer Malik Dime. His four first-half blocks made it clear to any Griz looking to drive inside - do so at your own peril. Dime finished with five blocks, four points and five rebounds for Washington.

“I’m not trying to say I told you so, but go back and look at your summer notes," Romar said when asked about Dime. "What about Malik Dime? He blocks shots. That’s why we recruited him. We knew he could protect the rim. We knew he could finish around the rim. The things that he’s doing are no surprise. If he was averaging one block a game we would be saying what’s wrong with Malik? That’s not the guy we recruited. That’s not the guy we thought we were bringing in. What he’s doing it what we recruited him for. That was the niche when he decided to come with us that he assumed; that he was going to be a shot blocker. But I think Malik can do more things than that. I think he can score for us as well.”

The second half started out much the same for the Huskies, as they reeled off seven straight - punctuated by an emphatic Chriss dunk off an assist from Murray that used the backboard for some flourish. The freshman forward was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim - but the fans loved the passion and roared on enthusiastically. 

“I wouldn’t say it was that I held on the rim," Chriss said after. "I think it’s because when I pulled up my head was above the rim so it was kind of excessive.”

“I’m pretty sure he knew I was going to throw it off the glass or bounce it back to him or something," Murray added when asked about Chriss's dunk. "That just comes from me being unselfish and liking to see my teammates have fun and stuff. Open court, I just threw it up and we practice it all the time. It was just the right time and right place and it happened.

"It got the fans on their feet and got them going crazy. As long as they’re having fun it’s cool. I’m cool with it. And I’m pretty sure coach is cool with it. And I think coach is cool with it. He wasn’t mad about it. I think he was mad about hanging on the rim. Like (Chriss) said, he’s going to take the consequences for it.”

Romar had a slightly different take on the jam.

"We shouldn’t hang on the rim and get technical, but Marquese (Chriss) played his heart out and played very hard and did a fantastic job," he said. "Again, those guys are out there working hard and what we’ve told them before is you don’t go out on the floor to have fun; you work your tail off and when you do, fun will be a by-product. Our guys did so I’m not going to get on all of our guys about that situation based on how we handled that whole game and how we’ve handled our season up to this point.”

By the time Romar called off the Dawgs, Washington had their biggest lead of the game - 42 points - after a Murray layin gave UW an 80-38 lead with 10:48 remaning in the game. 

At that point, Chriss had been subbed out - his day done. 

Before the third television timeout of the half, Dime and Andrews were finished, and within a minute Murray had been taken out as well. From that point on, Montana out-scored the Huskies 15-7 to close out the game. 

“I’ll be the first to admit that I did not see that coming," Romar said. "I have a lot of respect for the Montana program and coach DeCuire, coach Bone, and their staff, Martin Breunig, all of them. We just watched them play Gonzaga and we were prepared to play a tough game down to the wire. We felt that’s what it was going to be. Give our guys a lot of credit. We came out ready to play from the outset. And we took care of the ball early and just played right early. I’m excited that we were able to get that done. That Montana team is a really good basketball team.”

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