(MSUB Athletics release)
NAMPA, Idaho – The Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks (10-8, 6-6 GNAC) used a 52-25 rebounding advantage to outlast the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (11-11, 3-8 GNAC) in an 86-76 NNU win on Thursday night. The game marked the beginning of the second half of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule and the second time the teams met this season after MSUB earned a 99-88 win in Billings on Dec. 30.
The Nighthawks collected 24 offensive boards in the game and netted 14 second chance points. Their offense scored nearly half of their points in the paint with NNU netting a 42-14 scoring advantage in the key.
“I am proud of our guys’ effort tonight,” head coach Jamie Stevens said after the game. “NNU played extremely well and fought hard all night. They were the aggressor all night but we didn’t back down and that’s what we have to do in those situations. We have to move forward to Central Washington on Saturday and make the most of the opportunity.”
A poor shooting night also plagued the ‘Jackets in their fourth consecutive conference loss. MSUB finished the night shooting 42.6 percent from the floor with only three scorers in double figures. Zack Rollins scored a season-high 27 in the game while making 7 of 11 3-point attempts before fouling out of the game.
The Yellowjackets trailed by one after the first half as a pair of 3-pointers from Rollins and two free throws from Zharon Richmond added up to a 9-0 MSUB run to close the opening period. The Nighthawks were dominant on the glass in the period as they out-rebounded the ‘Jackets 23-14 and collected 11 offensive rebounds.
In the second half the ‘Jackets remained in striking distance throughout but could never take a lead as the Nighthawks completed a wire-to-wire victory. The game was knotted at 49-49 with 12:50 left to go but NNU used a 13-4 run to give them all the space they would need to finish the game.
Richmond made the most of his opportunities by scoring 14 points on five field goal attempts and sinking 6 of 9 free throws. It was also another strong showing for the freshman on the defensive end of the floor where he rejected four shots bringing his season total to 39.
Another good outing for Kobe Terashima resulted in 10 points and four assists. He also added three rebounds but had numerous hustle-plays in the post as he batted easy rebounds from NNU bigs giving the ‘Jackets opportunities to gain possession.
Senior point guard Kendall Denham showed a lot of fight while having a difficult shooting night, leading MSUB with five rebounds while scoring five points and collecting an assist.
Saturday will pit the ‘Jackets against Central Washington for the second time this season after MSUB lost an 80-75 game in Alterowitz Gym earlier this season. The game will tip a 7 p.m. Pacific time and can be streamed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.