(MSU Billings release)
SEATTLE - The Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets fell to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s No. 1 team Seattle Pacific University 83-72 Saturday afternoon. MSUB fought hard in a tightly contested game for the first half and most of the second, but ultimately came out on the losing end of the game.
Keeping pace with 25th team in the nation, MSUB (8-8, 3-5 GNAC) led for most of the first half until SPU (12-4, 8-0) tied the game at 28-28 with 6:56 remaining. The ‘Jackets never let the Falcons out of their sights as SPU would take just a five point into halftime 42-37.
SPU came out of the break on a mission and jetted out a 12 point lead just two and a half minutes into the second half 51-39. One could argue that 9-2 run was the difference in the entire game as MSUB would never tie or retake the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Yellowjackets came within striking distance after two free throws from Zharon Richmond to make it a one possession game 68-65 with 8:03 remaining. SPU then again stretched their advantage to double digits going up 77-67 with 4:43 left.
MSUB made one more run to try to reclaim the led and pull out a late win as they came within five points after a pair of Richmond free throws 77-72 with 3:06 remaining. MSUB would not score another point as for the third and final time, SPU pushed their advantage to double figures and came away with the 83-72 point win.
“I liked how we competed against a very good team today,” said head coach Mick Durham. “We were down by five with three minutes left and just took a bad shot then missed the front end of a bonus free throw which ended up sealing it for SPU. I think we continue to improve as a team and we played well on this road trip.”
Richmond led MSUB with 21 points and eight rebounds. Brendan Howard produced a 20 point seven rebound game and fresh off his career high 38 points on Thursday, Tyler Green added 19 points.
Jordan Lehrer tied his career high with 10 points while Clarence Daniels was the only other ‘Jacket to score a basket.
Divant’e Moffitt led all players with 30 points for SPU. Harry Cavell added 19 points and Shaw Anderson finished with 16.
SPU took better care of the ball finishing with eight turnovers to MSUB’s 13. MSUB’s bench out preformed SPU 12-10 and the ‘Jackets finished with 17 second chance points to SPU’s five.
Player of the Game: Zharon Richmond was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game for his team leading 21 points and eight rebounds.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Yellowjackets return home for a four game home stand over the next two weeks. MSUB kicks things off by hosting the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks marking the halfway point in the conference schedule.