Montana went 19-1 in the Big Sky this year, and won their second straight Big Sky regular season and tournament title. But the ending to their year is worse than any Montana player or fan's worst nightmare. We knew that, on paper, Syracuse was not a good matchup for Montana, with their length and athleticism. That said, I am not sure anyone was ready for the carnage that took place on Thursday night.
Syracuse got out to a fast start and never looked back, winning by a shocking final margin of 81-34. There are a lot of stats that could be used to point out how bad Montana's night was, but that will do no good. The Grizzlies got punched in the mouth at the beginning of the game, and they simply had no answer at either end of the court. They are obviously a lot better than they played against the Orange, but that is of little consolation to themselves or their fans. It was a bad night.
The bottom line is this - Montana had a great year. With the obstacles they overcame this year - from Marko Kovacevic losing eligibility before the year, to Will Cherry missing time, to Mathias Ward getting hurt - they had no business going 19-1, winning the Big Sky regular season and conference tournament. They simply didn't have the talent (again, with injuries and defections) or depth as they did last year, and that is combined with Weber State being an improved team. The fact that they accomplished what they did is a testament to guys like Will Cherry, Kareem Jamar, Wayne Tinkle, and the program that they have built.
One game does not define a season. Montana will look back on this game with some rough memories, but hopefully they don't let it take away what they accomplished this season.
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