BILLINGS – The MSU Billings Yellowjackets are 7-3 so far this season, which might be better than expected after losing their top four scorers. And they can thank – math.

Head coach Jamie Stevens has embraced the analytics world of basketball – looking at different statiscal trends from the normal box score to identify the most efficient way to play. The NBA’s Houston Rockets are the biggest champion of the techinque, and currently have the best record in the league at 22-4.

Stevens knew he needed to change his approach after the talent exodus, and so far it’s working.

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“We wanted to buy into a system that we believe in – a way to guard defensively, a way to play on the offensive end,” said Stevens.

The team has focused its new efforts primarily on defense.

“One, rebounding, which we consider defense,” said Stevens. “Second, we’re really trying not only to have teams shoot a low percentage from 3, but we’re trying to limit 3s. We try to run people off the 3-point line and make people feel uncomfortable in their offensive actions.

“That doesn’t mean we’re going to win every game, and it doesn’t mean it’s going to work every night, but if we’re bought into it, we explain to our guys why we’re bought into it, and why we’re doing what we’re doing, and then the guys buy into it, then on most nights it’s going to give us the opportunity to be in a lot of games.”

MSUB plays its conference home opener Thursday night against Central Washington.

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