(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – In their second victory of the week the Montana State University Billings men’s basketball team (7-2, 0-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) delivered a gritty performance while outlasting the University of Providence Argos (7-5, 0-2 Frontier Conference) 85-74.
“We had good balance tonight,” head coach Jamie Stevens said after six players reached double figures in the game. “That is what we are going to have to do for the foreseeable future with Tyler (Green) going out. That’s a good team over their (University of Providence), they’re a hard team to guard and fortunately we did enough to win.”
The Yellowjackets got off to a slow start for the second time this week scoring 37 points in the first half. It was a defensive effort that forced 12 first-half turnovers by the Argos that swung the momentum after Providence charged out to an eight-point 14-6 lead just over seven minutes into the game.
A run led by eight of Sven Jeuschede’s 20 points guided the ‘Jackets back to a lead that they would never give up with 7:47 left in the first half. Prior to Wednesday night, Jeuschede had never scored more than 19 points in a game but he now has two 20 point performances in the past two games.
A seven-point halftime lead was secured thanks to five late points by Jordan Perry and a 3-pointer by Kendall Denham. Perry made a big impact late in the first half and finished the game with a season-high 10 points while shooting 4-for-6 and sinking two 3-pointers. He added a steal and an assists to his ledger in the victory.
“Jordan took advantage of his opportunity tonight and hopefully that gets him going a little bit,” Stevens said of the senior guard’s performance. “He made good decisions early in the game and now that we are down to 10 guys we need everybody to step up.”
The Argos tied the game 40-40 thanks to a 10-3 run to start the second half but after a pair of Kamal Tall free throws and another Jeuschede three the ‘Jackets were back in control. The lead would stretch all the way to 15-points as MSUB controlled much of the action down the stretch.
Making his first collegiate start, Zharon Richmond punctuated his night with a dazzling defensive display with 5:07 left in the game. The freshman blocked three consecutive Argo shot attempts leading to a rebound by Denham which resulted in a Providence foul. Richmond finished the game with 12 points and a season-best eight boards along with his four blocks.
Denham, Tall and Zack Rollins all reached double figures in scoring and Denham was second on the team with seven rebounds in the contest. Kobe Terashima had eight assists and four points during his season-high 30 13288minutes of action.
In tomorrow night’s game the Yellowjackets will host Rocky Mountain College in the tail-end of a doubleheader following the women’s basketball game against Providence. Games start at 5:30 p.m. with the men set to tip at 7:30.