(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS - Leading conference scorer Shadeed Shabazz scored 38 points and snagged 10 steals to lead University of Alaska Fairbanks over Montana State University Billings 86-78 Saturday night in Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball at Alterowitz Gymnasium.
In a seesaw affair, the Yellowjackets stayed within two possessions of a tie until Shabazz completed a three-point play on a layup with 40 seconds remaining. The ‘Jackets failed to score on their next possession, despite two offensive rebounds and were forced to foul the rest of the way.
Brendan Howard finished with 28 points in the loss for MSUB and marked his second highest point total of the season. Zharon Richmond also collected his fourth double-double with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks.
MSU Billings (8-10, 3-7 GNAC) lost its third straight game and suffered home defeats to both conference Alaska schools in Billings this week. Alaska (7-11, 6-4 GNAC) maintained position inside the top-six after splitting against MSUB and Alaska Anchorage.
Richmond helped the ‘Jackets jump out to a 17-4 lead to begin the game. Richmond put away a two-handed dunk in transition, immediately following a strong defensive rebound by Chrishon Dixon. Despite the quick start, Alaska Fairbanks took advantage of seven first half MSUB turnovers to cut the deficit to 38-33 at halftime.
Shabazz then scored 23 points in the second half and finished 12-for-26 from the field overall. Shabazz also converted 10 of 11 free throws and went 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. Koby Huerta contributed 16 points for the Nanooks. Markel Kachjaani and Spencer Sweet posted double figures with 15 and 12 points respectively. Sweet hurt MSUB with four made three pointers in the second half.
The Yellowjackets shot 46-percent (29-for-63) including 33-percent (8-for-24) from long range. MSUB also committed 17 turnovers and converted 12 of 16 chances at the free throw line. Alaska Fairbanks shot 49-percent (30-for-61) from the field and 44-percent from 3-point range.
NEXT UP: The Yellowjackets have 11 regular season conference games remaining and host Concordia University and Western Oregon University next week at Alterowitz Gymnasium. Both games will be streamed live through MSUB’s stretch internet portal with statistics.
THE BUZZ: Brendan Howard was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game for the Yellowjackets after marking his sixth game this season with 25 or more points.