(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Propelled by 53.1 percent shooting in the second half, the Montana State Billings Yellowjackets (10-6, 2-4 GNAC) secured their second consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory with an 83-70 win over the Concordia Cavaliers (4-10, 0-6 GNAC) on Thursday night.
Four players scored in double figures for the ‘Jackets led by 20 points from both Zack Rollins and Zharon Richmond. Rollins had a season-high six makes from beyond the arc after making 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first half. Richmond finished the night shooting 7-for-11 from the field with six rebounds.
“You have to win on Thursdays,” head coach Jamie Stevens said after the big road-win. “It takes a little bit of pressure off of you for Saturday. I think the guys came out and played great tonight, we made our shots and picked it up in the second half. It was a total team effort.”
MSUB held a lead for the majority of the first half before the Cavaliers jumped back in front for the first time since the 14:10 mark with just 5:58 remaining in the period. At that point Rollins took over, sinking three big 3-pointers to keep the ‘Jackets offense in the game. A pair of layups from guards Kendall Denham and Kobe Terashima complimented Rollins’ deep shooting stroke to knot the game at 34 heading into the last possession of the half.
With just two seconds remaining in the opening half, Daniel Shedden drew a crucial foul from beyond the 3-point line and converted all three foul shots giving MSUB a 37-34 advantage at the break. Shedden finished the night with 11 points and has now scored in double figures each of the past two games.
In the second half, the ‘Jackets trailed by one following a layup from Concordia’s Christopher Edward with 17:47 left to play but it would be all MSUB from there. Responding with an 18-6 run, the Yellowjackets opened an 11 point lead over the next four minutes of action to put the game out of reach.
Denham and Terashime combined for 24 points and eight assists while piloting the MSUB offense. Kamal Tall had six rebounds for the ‘Jackets and added a block while working against CU’s leading offensive threat in Edwards. Sven Jeuschede led the team with seven rebounds and chipped in six points while being limited to just one 3-point attempt on the night.
Concordia received a 24 point, 10 rebound performance from Edwards as he tallied his 10th double-double of the season. MSUB held the Cavaliers to 25 percent (3-for-12) from beyond the arc with the ‘Jackets countering at a 41.7 percent clip on 10 makes at the other end.
Saturday will present one of the biggest tests of the season for the ‘Jackets as they travel to No. 14 Western Oregon (12-1, 4-1 GNAC). The game tips at 7:30 Pacific time as MSUB looks to win for the first time since 2013. The teams split the regular season series last season before Western Oregon claimed a first round victory in the GNAC Tournament. The game can be followed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.