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MSU Billings men head to Las Vegas tournament

MSUB Men's Basketball
Posted at 1:57 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 15:57:30-05

(MSU Billings release)

LAS VEGAS - The Montana State University Billings men’s basketball team will travel to Sin City to compete in the Division II Holiday Hoops Classic on December 21 and 22 hosted by the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center.

In a bracket Style tournament, MSUB (4-4, 0-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) opens up with Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association member, Pittsburgh State University (4-3, 0-2 MIAA) from Pittsburg, Kansas on Dec. 21. This will be the first time MSUB takes on PSU in program history.

“I think what’s good about the trip is we see teams outside our West Region,” said head coach Mick Durham. It will give us a chance to get better before the break and see different playing styles and approaches. We’ll go right into the 7-day mandatory break on Sunday after our game. You hope the players stay active and touch a ball and get a few lifts in. We have a short turnaround when we come back starting league up Jan 2 and 4. I think the break is great for us to refresh and recharge for the most important part of the season.”

On the other side of the bracket is Drury University from Springfield, Missouri versus Rollins College from Winterpark, Florida. The two winners will face off for the championship and the losers will play for third and fourth on Dec. 22.

The Great Lakes Valley Conference affiliate, Drury is currently (7-0, 1-0 GLVC) ranked 25th in the nation for DII. MSUB has played Drury once before and fell 103-78 in 1998.

Rollins plays in the Sunshine State Conference and is currently 6-3, 2-1 SSC. MSUB and Rollins have never played each other.

LAST TIME OUT: MSUB defeated cross town rival Rocky Mountain College in overtime 89-86.

The 'Jackets had four players contribute double digit scoring efforts. Brendan Howard had 23 points and nine rebounds while Psalm Maduakor posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.

In his best game as a Yellowjacket, Stevie James played 40 minutes and finished with 17 points. Also having a career night was Jordan Lehrer who finished with 10 points, two massive dunks and one critical block

BY THE NUMBERS: The ‘Jackets currently have the seventh ranked offense (74.5 points/game) and ninth ranked defense (80.4 points per game) in the conference.

MSUB ranks fourth in the GNAC with 37.6 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are second in the GNAC with 3.88 blocked shots per game. They rank fourth in Division II with 12.5 personal fouls per game and 17th in fewest fouls with 100.

Howard continues to lead the GNAC and is 22nd in Division II in scoring averaging 23.0 points per game. The sophomore has put together a nice a nice run of four double-doubles in a row and also leads the GNAC in rebounding with 9.5 per game. On the season, Howard has five double-doubles which is the 10th best in the nation.

Green is seventh in the GNAC with 16.6 points per game and is second in the GNAC with a .875 free throw percentage (21-24).

Chrishon Dixon is averaging 9.0 points per game as is tied with Green for team lead in assists with 27.

James scored nine points in each game to finish with 18 for the week. He connected on 4 of 7 from the field at Simon Fraser and made 6 of 7 from the free throw line at Western Washington. James is averaging 6.8 points per game.

Scouting Pittsburg State University
Game Day: Saturday, December 21-Las Vegas, NV-4:45pm MST
2019 Record: 4-3, 0-2, MIAA 3-1 home, 0-1 away, 1-1 neutral
2018 Record: 17-13, 9-10 MIAA, 9-4 home, 4-6 away, 4-3 neutral
Head Coach: Kim Anderson (3rd Season)

As a team, the Gorillas are averaging 72.4 points per game and surrendering 68.9. PSU is paced by four players’ averaging double digit scoring efforts. Senior guard Marcel Cheery heads the team with an 11.6 points per game average.

RJ Lawrence (10.8 points/game), Jah-Kobe Womack (10.7 points/game) and Ray Elliott (10.4 points/game) round out the scoring leaders.

Forward Xavier Womack will be a force on the boards as he is averaging 10.0 per contest and chips in 7.0 points per game.