(MSUB Athletics release)
SEATTLE, Wash. – After leading for all but 31 seconds of the opening half, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (11-9, 3-6 GNAC) trailed for the majority of the second half resulting in a 98-87 loss to the Seattle Pacific Falcons (11-6, 6-4 GNAC).
‘Right now, we just aren’t getting enough stops on the defensive end,” head coach Jamie Stevens said. “I feel like we are trying to outscore teams. At this level, if you don’t take pride in getting stops, it will be hard to win games. Moving forward we will have to make some defensive adjustments but we’re excited to get another opportunity to play on Sunday.”
Seattle Pacific finished the night shooting 52.9 percent from 3-point range, making them the first GNAC team and only the second team all season to make more than half of their shot attempts beyond the arc against the ‘Jackets. The Falcons are the fourth consecutive conference team to shoot better than 50 percent (52.6%) from the field against MSUB.
Zack Rollins scored a career-high 25 points in the game to lead all scorers. The forward scored 11 points in just over a minute in the first half as he hit three 3-pointers and two free throws from 12:21 to 10:41 in the period. Rollins tied Kobe Terashima for the team-lead with three steals on the night as the ‘Jackets forced 17 turnovers in the game.
After a scoreless first minute of action, the Yellowjackets made the first field goal of the night to take a 2-1 with 18:35 on the clock. The teams were tied up at 13-13 when Rollins unleashed his scoring flurry netting MSUB a nine point lead. The Falcons slowly chipped away and ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 43-42 lead just 17 seconds before halftime.
The Falcons led for the first 14 minutes of the second half before a steal and layup from Terashima gave the ‘Jackets a 72-71 lead with 6:11 to go. Terashima finished the game with six points, six rebounds and seven assists making an impact on every facet of the contest.
The teams volleyed for the following three minutes as neither team could manage a margin greater than one point. A Gavin Long steal would put the Falcons in position to extend their one-point advantage leading to the first of many trips to the free throw line for SPU. Over the last 3:18 of play, the Falcons hit 18 of 19 free throws negating any offense the ‘Jackets could muster. SPU finished the game shooting 29-34 (85.3%) from the line.
Getting his first start of the season, Daniel Shedden scored 19 points for the ‘Jackets before fouling out of the game. Kendall Denham and Zharon Richmond also fouled-out as MSUB looked to extend the game in the final minutes of action.
Denham picked up the 300th assist of his career after a first-half pass led to a 3-pointer for Rollins. With the assist, Denham is now the third player in MSUB history with 300 assists and 100 3-pointers made in a career. He finished the night with 16 points and 3 assists while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor to lead the ‘Jackets.
The Yellowjackets will travel to Lacey, Wash. to play Saint Martin’s (12-5, 5-4 GNAC) on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. It will be MSUB’s 10th conference game of the season marking the turning point in the GNAC slate. The ‘Jackets split the season series with the Saints last season with each team winning at home. The game can be followed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.