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MSU Billings falls to Fairbanks in defensive struggle, 69-59

Posted at 9:59 PM, Feb 22, 2018

(MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Shooting a season-low 31.3 percent from the floor, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (13-17, 5-14 GNAC) couldn’t create enough offense to keep up with the University of Alaska Nannoks (11-15, 9-11 GNAC) in a 69-59 loss Thursday night.

The ‘Jackets hit just 22.6 percent of their 3-point attempts in the game and their 59 points was also the lowest total of the season for MSUB. Zack Rollins led the Yellowjackets with 17 points after scoring two points in the first half. The junior forward was just two rebounds away from his second double-double of the season as he led the team with eight rebounds.

“The guys are still bringing it every day but when you’re not making the shots that typically go down, it can drain your energy,” head coach Jamie Stevens said after the loss. “We took care of the ball and fought well on the glass tonight, if we don’t miss as many shots as we did we wouldn’t have been out-rebounded by 11. It is still a great group of guys to be around and we are going to be ready for Saturday.”

Zharon Richmond scored the first points of the game with a three but three MSUB-fouls in the first minute of the game prevented any momentum for the ‘Jackets out of the gate. That three-point margin would be the largest of the night for MSUB. Richmond finished with 15 points in the game. Kendall Denham added 12 as the only other ‘Jacket in double figures.

The Yellowjackets held their final lead of the game with 14:24 left in the first half following a Denham layup. The Nanooks built a six-point lead at the half thanks to 11 points from Joe Lendway in the first 20 minutes of action.

In the second half, the Yellowjackets started the period making just 4 of 14 shots in the first 12 minutes of the period. Alaska used the scoring struggles to outscore the ‘Jackets 25-10 and gain a 22 point lead with just eight minutes left in the contest.

MSUB went on to make four 3-pointers and cut the lead to eight with three minutes remaining but couldn’t pull any closer.

During a difficult shooting night, Kobe Terashima contributed seven rebounds and four assists while making all four of his free throws against Alaska. Kamal Tall had six rebounds and four points for the ‘Jackets and picked up his 20th block of the season.

Michael Kluting had a massive double-double for the Nanooks with 12 points and 16 rebounds on Thursday. Lendway finished the game with a team-high 15 points for Alaska and added eight rebounds.

The Yellowjackets will host their season finale on Saturday as they face the University of Alaska Anchorage (14-13, 10-9 GNAC). MSUB will celebrate Denham, Tall and Jordan Perry before the 7 p.m. tip-off as the three seniors will play their final game for the Yellowjackets in Alterowitz Gym. The game can be followed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.