(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Montana State was unable to overcome a slow start in the second half as Northern Arizona picked up its first Big Sky Conference victory over the Bobcats, 74-68, on Monday in men’s basketball at the Walkup Skydome. NAU improved to 3-9 overall, while the Bobcats fell to 4-8 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky play.
The Lumberjacks got out to a 9-2 advantage within the first four minutes of the game, but Harald Frey sparked the Bobcats offensively. The Oslo, Norway, native scored MSU’s first 8 points of the contest and hit his first six shots. Eight Bobcats scored during the first half, while Frey led the way with 17, to put MSU up 35-32 at the break.
Montana State had a rough stretch over the first 8 minutes of the second half and NAU capitalized.
NAU went on a 13-2 run to open the second half and went up 49-43 at the 12:25 mark in the second half. MSU was able to respond. Devin Kirby went on a spree of 5 consecutive points and a Bobcat fastbreak finished off by a Quentin Guliford layup helped MSU regain the lead at 54-53 with 9:08 remaining.
The Bobcats kept the contest close despite a three-minute stretch without scoring, but a 1-point deficit was extended to 4 on an NAU 3-pointer at the 6:02 mark. The Lumberjacks put the game out of reach with a 7-0 run to go up 63-55 with just over 4 minutes remaining.
Frey scored a team-high 26 points and notched 5 assists for the Bobcats. Tyler Hall followed with 12 points and Devin Kirby also contributed 10 points to go along with an MSU-high 8 rebounds.
The Lumberjacks had four double digit scorers while Bernie Andre and Brooks DeBisschop each registered 11 rebounds.
Montana State returns to Bozeman for its next two games. The Bobcats make their Big Sky home debut by hosting Portland State on Thursday, Jan. 3, then take on Sacramento State in Worthington Arena on Saturday.