(MSU Billings release)
LAS VEGAS – Playing in the Division II Holiday Hoops Classic on December 21 and 22 hosted by the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (5-4, 0-2 Great northwest Athletic Conference) defeated the Pittsburg State University Gorillas (4-5, 0-2 Mid-America Intercollegiate Conference) 85-79 on the back of a 30 point performance from Zharon Richmond.
Playing in his first game of the year, Richmond posted a career high 30 points in a thunderous statement in his return to the hardwood. Scoring only eight points in the first half, Richmond looked unstoppable in the second and poured in 22 points with five three point shots made. He also added nine rebounds and one block in 33 minutes of play.
“Zharon’s first game back was a huge lift for our team,” said head coach Mick Durham. He is one of our leaders and he showed that today.”
MSUB would go into halftime trailing 33-27 and need a second half come from behind effort to secure the win. In all five of the ‘Jackets’ wins, the team has been trailing entering the second half and has relied on stout defense to produce good offense to claim victory. Today was no different as MSUB outscored PSU 58-43 in the second half.
Benefiting from the return of Richmond, Tyler Green played his most complete game of the year scoring 22 points and dishing a career high 10 assists in his first double-double of the season. Green made four threes and added four rebounds.
The GNAC’s leading scorer Brendan Howard added finished with 15 points and has now scored in double digits in all nine game for MSUB this season. He added five rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes of play.
Clarence Daniels II and Chrishon Dixon each finished with six points.
As a team, MSUB shot 50.0 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from behind the three point arc.
For the Gorillas, Jah-Kobe Womack led the team with 19 points while A.J. Walker finished with 16.
“We won against a good physical basketball team and didn’t shy away from the challenge,” continued Durham. “Our schedule has challenged us and seeing different teams with different styles will really benefit us. Good team win and we will have a huge challenge tomorrow. Rollins is very active and plays tremendous zone defense. They beat an undefeated Drury team today and the number one team in the nation last week.”
Player of the Game: Zharon Richmond was named the St. Vincent Player of the Game for his career high 30 point performance…His previous career high was 24 points.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Yellowjackets will take on a hardened and talent Rollins College tomorrow Dec. 22 with tip-off scheduled for 1:00pm MST. Rollins is coming off a 76-67 win over the number 25 team in the nation Drury University. Last week, Rollins defeated the number one team in the nation Nova Southeastern 86-85.