(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
PORTLAND, Oregon – Portland State started fast and never gave ground, racing past Montana State 93-74 at Lewis and Clark College’s Pamplin Sports Center on Thursday.
The nation’s leader in turnovers forced, PSU jumped out to an 11-2 lead over the Cats in the game’s first 2:39. That stretch featured three Bobcat turnovers and a pair of Vikings three-pointers. Those two features proved the game’s defining characteristics. The Vikings finished with 14 triples and 21 takeaways.
Bobcat coach Brian Fish said offensive execution plagued his squad. “We missed layups,” he said. “They got us sped up, and we missed too many layups.”
After Keljin Blevins converted a layup on the game’s first possession, Montana State went more than three minutes without scoring. When Konner Frey scored at 16:21 the score was 11-4. A triple by Deontae North pushed the Vikings lead to double-digits. Another Bobcat dry spell, four minutes without scoring in the middle of the half, allowed PSU to push the lead to 29-15 and the Cats would never get within single-digits again.
North led all player with 22 points, while Michael Mayhew added 18 on 6-of-9 shooting – all from beyond the arc – for Portland State. Tyler Hall scored 15 points for MSU, who had five players in double-digits. Blevins and Konner Frey each scored 12, Mvuezolo scored 11, and Harald Frey added 10.
Portland State raised its record to 12-5 overall, 2-2 in the Big Sky, and hosts Montana on Saturday. MSU is now 11-7, 4-1, and plays at Sacramento State on Saturday at 8 pm MT.