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Matthews leads Montana past struggling Stanford

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Before Montana's basketball game with
Stanford, coach Larry Krystkowiak said the Grizzlies were excited
about the opportunity to play an opponent of Stanford's stature.

Montana's stature went up a notch, after its 88-69 win on
Friday.

"Before the game, coach said we wanted to make a name for
ourselves. We want to play harder than people," said Virgil
Matthews, who led the Grizzlies with 23 points, eight assists and
seven rebounds.

That's exactly what Montana did -- outshoot, out defend and out
hustle the Cardinal (2-2).

Montana (4-1) jumped out to a 13-0 lead and all five of its
starters scored in double figures in the convincing win.

"We came out of the gate real slow," said Stanford coach Trent
Johnson. "We've had some bad starts defensively in the first half
at home. We had one here on the road. We're always behind the
eight-ball."

Jordan Hasquet added 20 points, including all four of his
3-pointers from the top of the key, and dished out four assists for
Montana, which led 44-31 at halftime.

"I told 'em we were getting outplayed. We were getting
outworked in no uncertain terms. Basically, I challenged them,"
Johnson said of his halftime talk.

Dan Grunfeld and Matt Haryasz combined for Stanford's first 20
points of the second half. The Cardinal rallied within 60-51 on two
free throws by Haryasz with 11:42 remaining and got within 64-57 on
two more free throws by Haryasz with 7:11 left.

Hasquet quieted the rally with a 3-pointer.

"We got within eight, nine a couple of times," Johnson said.
"We had some good looks. We executed offensively. Then Chris
(Hernandez) had an open jump shot that didn't go down. Danny had a
couple open looks and Matt -- our three guys we rely on to make
plays offensively. They just didn't go down."

Montana took a 71-60 lead after Kevin Criswell came out of a
scramble for a loose ball with a full-court layup attempt. Matthews
tipped in the miss with 3:44 remaining.

"That's how I earned my minutes last year, just trying to go
after everything," Matthews said. "Dive on the floor, follow
every ball."

A steal by Matthews led to a layup by Matt Martin giving Montana
a 73-60 lead with 2:38 left. Matthews had a crowd-pleasing dunk at
1:44 and Montana made 13-of-14 free throws in the final 2:29.

Criswell added 14 points for Montana, followed by Martin with 12
and Andrew Strait with 11.

"We have to continue to get better and not think that this is
reaching anything magical," Krystkowiak said. "It was a great win
for Grizzly basketball. It was a great win in front of a great
crowd. But in the grand scheme of things it was only one win."

Matthews called it "the biggest win I've ever been in in my
career."

"We've got to build off this," said Criswell.

Haryasz led Stanford with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while
Grunfeld finished with 16 after having just three at halftime.
Chris Hernandez added 12 points and four assists.