Qvale big in Montana's upset of UCLALOS ANGELES — Montana coach Wayne Tinkle opened the history books to prepare his Grizzlies for Sunday night's game at UCLA by talking about the past. It worked.
By: The Associated Press, The Dickinson Press
LOS ANGELES — Montana coach Wayne Tinkle opened the history books to prepare his Grizzlies for Sunday night's game at UCLA by talking about the past.
It worked. The Grizzlies took control from the beginning and didn't let up until they had secured a 66-57 over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
Will Cherry led the Grizzlies (4-3) with 18 points, while senior center Brian Qvale turned in a 13-point, 10-rebound effort for his first double-double of the season as Montana beat UCLA for the first time in five tries.
“There were some things we talked about before we took the court,” Tinkle said. “We talked about the last time these two teams met in the (1975) NCAA tournament and what gave Montana an opportunity to win that game. It was all about toughness and discipline, so we challenged our guys (to) get a little piece of our own history.”
Montana lost that regional semifinal game by three points, and UCLA went on to win the NCAA title again in John Wooden's final season as the Bruins’ coach.
But this season's version of the Grizzlies saw to it that the result was different. They turned on the pressure with a zone defense that stymied the UCLA offense and seemed to put doubt in the minds of the Bruins’ shooters.
Reeves Nelson entered the game averaging 15.5 points but was held to five. Tyler Honeycutt, fresh off a 33-point performance in a one-point loss at No. 4 Kansas, scored 11.
“Reeves Nelson missed some shots inside and Josh (Smith) seemed rushed because their size inside bothered us,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “Montana is a strong team so you have to give them credit but we missed a lot of opportunities, especially in the second half.”
Montana did what it wanted in setting the tone early. The Grizzlies bounced out to a 14-7 lead and didn't panic when a 10-0 run by the Bruins gave UCLA its first lead.
Cherry's reverse layup with 6:40 remaining in the first half gave the Grizzlies a 24-22 advantage, and the lead for good.
The Bruins (3-4) shot 37 percent from the field in the first half, and 31.3 percent for the game.
“I felt confident as long as we kept attacking the basket,” said Qvale, a Williston High School graduate. "We were playing solid defense and that's what kept us in the game.
“We watched teams that played zone against them. We play zone defense and we knew that would be key to the game.”
The Grizzlies built a 17-point lead in the second half, and the Bruins’ late run only made the score a little closer.
Malcolm Lee led UCLA with 13 points. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Bruins.