(MSUB Athletcs release)
BILLINGS – Brendan Howard had 16 points and seven rebounds and Montana State University Billings cruised past Central Washington University 87-47 in men’s basketball Thursday night at Alterowitz Gymnasium in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game. The ‘Jackets shot 57-percent from the field and never trailed in the contest, taking a 30-point lead into halftime.
It was the first time MSUB has held an opponent to less than 50 points since 2012-13 in a game against Montana Northern (41 points).
“Our guys were ready to play and things went our way again in the first half,” said head coach Mick Durham after the game. “We were very balanced again in our scoring with contributions from a lot of guys. We shared the ball very well with 26 assists and everyone contributed on the boards.”
Tyler Green turned in 16 points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals and Melvin Newbern Jr. had 15 points on 7 of 8 shooting with 5 boards. Zharon Richmond pitched in 13 points for MSUB and Kobe Terashima ended with five points and a team high six assists.
Zellie Hudson was the only player to score double-digit points for Central Washington. Hudson finished with 10 points and three rebounds.
The Yellowjackets (11-8, 6-5 GNAC) remained in sixth place in the conference standings with nine games left to play in the regular season. MSUB must stay inside the top six to qualify for the GNAC postseason tournament in Bellingham, Washington.
MSU Billings shot 33.3-percent from 3-point range (9-for-27) and had 50 points in the paint. The Wildcats offense went 4-for-24 (16.7-percent) from downtown and scored 18 points in the paint. MSUB soundly outrebounded CWU 46-29 and six players had five or more rebounds for the home team.
The Yellowjackets collected 32 points off the bench as Howard (16 pts), Terashima (5 pts), Seth Christiaens (9 pts), and Jordan Lehrer (2 pts) all found the scoresheet. Central Washington had 20 bench points.
The Yellowjackets quickly opened a 15-4 advantage in the opening ten minutes of the game and took advantage of the stagnant offense early on for Central Washington. Back-to-back threes by Howard and Richmond helped the ‘Jackets extend the lead to 52-22 at halftime. Howard scored 14 points in the first half and the ‘Jackets shot an impressive 62.5-percent (20-for-32 field goals).
Eventually the scoring surge slowed down in the final ten minutes of the game, but not before successful dunks by Jordan Lehrer and Zharon Richmond ignited the crowd. The early second half run was capped by an alley-oop dunk set up by Sven Jueschede beyond the arc and finished off by Richmond at the rim.
Thursday night marked the largest margin of victory this season for MSUB and also its biggest win over an opponent since a 112-33 victory over Yellowstone Christian College in November 2017.
The Yellowjackets host Northwest Nazarene University (14-3, 9-2 GNAC) on Saturday February 2 at 7 p.m. The Nighthawks defeated MSU Billings 94-79 in Nampa on January 3.
THE BUZZ: Brendan Howard was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game for the Yellowjackets…MSUB improved to 7-20 all-time against Central Washington University and snapped its three game losing skid versus CWU…MSUB had six blocks compared to two for CWU…The ‘Jackets had 18 second chance points versus nine for the Wildcats…MSUB’s largest lead was 48 points, achieved with 6 minutes 14 seconds to play in the second half.