(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND – Playing from behind for much of the game, the Montana State University Billings struggled to score and fell to Great Northwest Athletic Conference rival Concordia University 73-66 in men’s basketball Thursday night at LCEF Court. The Yellowjackets shot 41-percent from the floor and 37-percent from beyond the arc and failed to make up an eight point halftime deficit against the Cavaliers.
MSU Billings was without GNAC leading rebounder Melvin Newbern Jr. for the first time this season and were out-rebounded by Concordia 35-30. Tyler Wells led all players with 22 points (9-of-15) for the Cavs and made 4-of-8 three-point attempts. Jarrett Gray chipped in 19 points for CU and Hunter Sweet added 13 points.
“I was pleased with how we competed tonight but we needed to shoot better,” commented head coach Mick Durham. “We didn’t get any easy baskets and took 37 three pointers. We gave ourselves a chance late but couldn’t quite get a stop when we needed it. Both Gray and Wells for Concordia were difference makers in the game.”
Brendan Howard was MSUB’s leading scorer with 18 points of 8-for-14 shooting, including 2 of 6 from 3-point range. Tyler Green had 17 points and made 5 of 10 from long range. The Cavaliers shot 46-percent on field goal tries and made 13 of 29 three point shots (44-percent). Concordia also committed nine turnovers compared to 13 for MSUB.
The Yellowjackets (11-10, 6-7 GNAC) dropped into a tie for sixth place in the GNAC standings with Western Washington (12-11, 6-7) and remain on the west coast to play Western Oregon (16-6, 9-4) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MSUB Concordia (9-13, 4-10) is alone in ninth place with four conference wins.
Howard started for MSUB for the first time since November 17 and played 29 minutes. The Cavaliers received a 10 point contribution from the bench but only the starting five recorded points for MSUB. Concordia also outscored the ‘Jackets in the paint 18-16 and posted 13 points off turnovers compared to nine for MSU Billings.
MSUB trailed 40-32 after the first half and shot 44-percent. Howard and Rollins each had eight points in the opening 20 minutes. Rollins and Richmond each grabbed four rebounds. Gray had three triples and 15 points for Concordia in the opening half and the Cavaliers shot 46-percent, including 50-percent from three-point range (8-for-16).
The Yellowjackets shot 100-percent from the free throw line but made it to the charity stripe just four times. Concordia was 6-for-6 from the line. Dominique Bradley led all players with eight rebounds to go with seven points and Zharon Richmond collected a team high seven rebounds and seven points for MSUB.
THE BUZZ: Brendan Howard was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game for MSU Billings. Howard finished with 18 points, four rebounds, two steals, and two assists…The Yellowjackets split the season series with Concordia and are now 6-3 all-time against the Cavaliers and 2-2 on the road…MSUB returns home on February 14 with a rematch against Simon Fraser University. SFU bested MSUB in triple overtime on January 19 in Burnaby, British Columbia.