(MSU Billings release)
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Finishing the night with their second lowest 3-point shooting percentage (23.3%) of the season, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (11-12, 3-9 GNAC) fell in a 77-73 loss to the Central Washington Wildcats (11-8, 6-6 GNAC). The loss extends the ‘Jackets’ five-game Great Northwest Conference losing streak with eight conference games remaining this season.
“The bottom line is it is going to be hard to win in the GNAC no matter what,” head coach Jamie Stevens said after the game. “I am very proud of the effort and energy our guys played with tonight but I am extremely frustrated that we fought so hard and couldn’t pull out the win. Our guys competed and competed. That is all you can ask for as a coach. With our freshmen, Kobe (Terashima) and Zharon (Richmond) carrying us right now, we need our veteran guys to step up and play the way we know they can. We’ve had the opportunities, we just need to capitalize on them. We are looking forward to a great four-week run ahead of us.”
Kobe Terashima had a remarkable run in the final six-minutes of the opening half after he assisted a Hafeez Abdul layup before going on a personal 6-1 run to give MSUB their first lead of the game 26-25. The ‘Jackets took a 33-31 lead into the half after trailing by nine points in the first period. However, it wouldn’t be enough as cold shooting plagued MSUB all night.
With 13:02 left in the second half the ‘Jackets were just 2-for-21 from beyond the arc but trailed by just five points. Jordan Perry hit the first of five late 3-pointers for the ‘Jackets as MSUB would connect on five of their last nine 3-point attempts and finish the night 7 of 30 from deep.
MSUB never allowed a double-digit lead to the Wildcats and Abdul gave the ‘Jackets an opportunity to steal a win as he hit a three with 45 seconds remaining to trim the lead to one. CWU’s Jawan Stepney ansered back with a three of his own with just 10 seconds remaining to give the Wildacats the 77-73 win.
It wasn’t only deep shots that gave the ‘Jackets trouble in the game, MSUB finished the night making 10 of 20 free throw attempts and recording their lowest percentage of the season.
With their typically proficient shooting providing few answers on offense, the Yellowjackets turned to Terashima and his penetrating drives to kick start their scoring. The freshman amassed a season-high 24 points including 16 points off of eight layups. Terashima finished the night 10-for-14 from the field with three rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Zharon Richmond was the only other ‘Jacket to score in double figures as the post finished the night with 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Zack Rollins led the team with eight rebounds and added nine points and Kendall Denham finished the night with five points and two assists.
MSUB outscored the Wildcats 40-34 in the paint and each team received 24 points from their bench. Perry finished the night with nine points to lead the Yellowjackets’ second unit followed by seven from Tyler Green and six for Abdul.
The Yellowjackets will return home next week to face No. 6 Western Oregon and Concordia. MSUB defeated the Cavaliers before falling to the Wolves earlier this month when visiting Oregon.