(MSU Billings release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Montana State University Billings men’s basketball team collected its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference win of the season as it defeated Concordia University Portland 85-73 on Saturday afternoon.
The Yellowjackets (6-6, 1-3 GNAC) held the lead for most of the game and did a good job of fending off CU (1-11, 0-4 GNAC) to manage a solid road victory.
A back-and-forth game early, MSUB took the lead in the first half 14-12 on a Clarence Daniels II jumper and never looked back. Never trailing again, the ‘Jackets stormed to a double-digit lead and went into halftime ahead 40-30.
The Cavs would battle hard in the second half cutting the deficit to 48-45 with 14:21 left in the game. Willing themselves to the first conference win, MSUB went on a 12-2 run to pull ahead 60-47 and created a comfortable distance for the rest of the game.
MSUB’s largest lead was 15 points and with a near wire-to-wire victory in toe, the Yellowjackets secured their first GNAC win 85-73.
"I am excited for the guys and liked out commitment to go get a road win,” said head coach Mick Durham. ”Chrishon Dixon and Psalm Maduakor made big plays for us in the second half. We played with the lead most of the game and I thought we did a good job managing that. We fought off home team runs and we are looking forward to returning home for our next league games.”
The GNAC’s leading scorer, Brendan Howard, scored a team-high 20 points and added eight rebounds. Howard now has seven games of 20 plus points on the year.
Dixon and Maduakor each scored career high in points in the win. Dixon had 17 and six rebounds while Maduakor scored 15 points and had eight rebounds.
Zharon Richmond netted 11 points and chipped in five rebounds. Stevie James finished with seven points while Tyler Green and Clarence Daniels II each scored six.
The Cav’s Dakota Ayala paced all players with 25 points and had nine rebounds. Russell Tillery scored 15 points and Xavier Smith added 11.
As a team, MSUB shot 40.7 percent from the floor, 22.2 percent from beyond the arc (4-18) and an impressive 33 points from the free throw line on an 89.2 percent conversion rate (33-37). The Cavilers shot 43.96 percent from the floor, 35.0 percent (7-20) from three point range and 57.1 from the charity stripe (8-14).
The ‘Jackets outrebounded the Cavs 47-32 and the MSUB bench scored 24 points to CU’s eight.
Player of the Game: Chrishon Dixon was named the St. Vincent Player of the Game for his career high 17 points…Dixon also added six rebounds from his point guard position.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Yellowjackets return home for their first GNAC games in Alterowitz gym this season. MSUB hosts Northwest Nazarene University on January 9 and Central Washington University on January 11. Both games are slated for a 7:00pm tip-off.