MISSOULA — Mike Oguine’s shot bounced off the rim, off the backboard and off the rim three more times. With the way the Montana Grizzlies’ junior guard was lighting it up from deep, of course the ball would find its way through the net.
With 14:55 left in the second half of Saturday's 82-64 win against Northern Arizona, that basket put Oguine over 1,000 career points at Montana. He became the 32nd player in program history — which dates back to 1901-02 — and the only active player to reach that plateau. He's just the 14th player to reach 1,000 in three or fewer seasons.
“It’s a real special feeling,” Oguine said. “First of all, I just want to thank (head coach) Trav(is DeCuire) for giving me this opportunity. When I first signed here, when I first met Trav, we had a vision. For him to see me out through this process, it’s been a blessing. I can’t really describe the way I feel right now, but it’s just great to be a part of this great Montana history. It’s a really special feeling.”
The 6-foot-2 guard finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He did his damage from beyond the arc, draining a career-high seven 3-pointers on 12 attempts. He got some rather open looks from downtown as the Lumberjacks had to respect his ability to drive to the rim.
He didn’t know he had eclipsed 1,000 points when he bounced home that triple; he found out over the PA system and with a video-board graphic several minutes later. Although he knew going into the game that he needed 16 points to reach 1,000 points, he wasn’t hunting for shots, DeCuire said.
After Oguine knocked down the trey that granted him access to the elite club — his second 3-pointer in 25 seconds — he raced down the court and drew a charge, showing his abilities as one of the Big Sky’s top two-way players. He added three steals, two rebounds, two assists and one block in 31 minutes.
“We’re happy for him,” DeCuire said. “He’s a guy who’s not about himself. He’s not watching the scoreboard. He’s not paying attention to how many shots he gets. He’s playing the game the way he has to play it, to his best ability every night. When a guy does that, they have fortune.
“For him to score 1,000 points with a lot of games to be played in his junior season, it’s a sign of a good basketball player playing the game the right way and prospering from it.”
Five of Oguine’s 3-pointers came in the second half. He hadn't made more than three 3-pointers in a game this season and never made more than four through his first 79 games at Montana.
Combined with defensive adjustments at the half, his 3-point shooting helped the Griz turned a seven-point halftime lead into an 18-point win.
The only basket he made that wasn’t a 3-pointer came in the final minute of the first half, when he had a steal and fast-break dunk that put the Griz up 28-23. He didn’t attempt any free throws.
“He was great,” redshirt junior post Jamar Akoh said. “The ball went in for him early. He hit a couple threes. I think the hoop got big for him. It was fun to watch.”
Oguine’s 23 points upped him to 1,007 career points in 80 games, an average of 12.6 points per game. He moved into 31st place on the all-time scoring list, passing Doug Selvig.
The Griz have at least 10 games left this season, and if he keeps up his season average of 15.9 points, he would end his season with 1,166 points. That would move him into 17th place, right ahead of Martin Breunig.
He has one more year of eligibility remaining after this season.
Larry Krystkowiak is the program's all-time leading scorer and the only member of the 2,000-point club. He scored 2,017 points from 1982-83 through 1985-86.