Big Sky Conference

Hot-shooting Fighting Hawks torch Montana State men

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Montana State Sports Information

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The script was familiar. Montana State fell into a big hole early and couldn’t quite battle its way in an 85-68 loss at North Dakota on Thursday.

“I thought we were locked in and ready to play,” said Bobcat coach Brian Fish. “But we missed some shots early. Their point guard made three or four shots. We just struggled to get something going.”

The Bobcats trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half after Adam McDermott’s three-pointer with 9:14 remaining. A layup by Shy Blake just under a minute later launched a 15-2 Bobcat run, and MSU scrapped to keep the margin manageable for a few more minutes.

“We showed some pride,” Fish said. “The guys have some fight in them. We’ve done that this year. But we have to find a way to play better defensively early.”

MSU allowed North Dakota to shoot 58 percent on the night, 64 percent after halftime. The Fighting Hawks hit 11 of their first 12 second half shots. UND shot 42 percent from beyond the arc, as well.

The trouble began early for the Bobcats. Danny Robison’s layup at 17:27 got the Cats off the schnied, and the team didn’t score again until Tyson Kanseyo’s layup nearly three minutes later. UND used a 9-2 run beginning at 15:55 to take command.

Neither team played particularly sharp basketball – at one point in the middle of the half the two squads combined for turnovers on seven straight possessions – but North Dakota shot the ball well. The Fighting Hawks finished the first half on a 7-for-11 tear, pushing the lead to 14 at the 2:02 mark.

While Stephan Holm’s 3-pointer in MSU’s final first-half possession trimmed UND’s margin to 39-28, MSU’s main issues glared. The Bobcats turned the ball over on 13 of their 37 first half possessions while shooting 42 percent. North Dakota’s 10 turnovers hindered the Fighting Hawks offensive effort, but the home team shot 54 percent.

Freshma Tyler Hall was the only Bobcat in double-figures, extending his string of scoring at least 10 to 16 of his first 17 games as a Bobcat. He tallied 15 points. Junior Shi Blake scored nine points with five boards, all on the offensive end. Blake had scored just eight points in his previous four league games combined.

The Bobcats’ downfall was 19 turnovers,. The Cats forced 15 UND turnovers, the most by an MSU opponent since San Jose State turned it over that many times on December 13, but UND’s hot shooting nullified its sloppy play, and then some. MSU posted its best free throw game of the season, converting 15 of 16 charity tosses.

Geno Crandall scored 18 points and dished out seven assists. Quinton Hooker scored 17 points and dished out eight assists for UND.

Montana State falls to 7-10 overall, 2-3 in the Big Sky, with the loss. North Dakota is now 8-8, 3-2. The Bobcats travel to Northern Colorado for a 5 p.m. contest on Saturday.

Courtesy of Bill Lamberty – Montana State Sports Information

 

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