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Playoff hopes bright with MSU Billings win; women fall at home

Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 01, 2019

(MSUB Athletics release)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Kobe Terashima recorded his second career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Montana State University Billings took down University of Alaska Anchorage 67-56 Thursday night in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball game at Alaska Airlines Center. The win lifted the Yellowjackets above the Seawolves in the conference standings and held MSUB in contention to make the six-team conference tournament with one game still to play in the regular season finale on Saturday.

Terashima set a new career high in rebounds and reached double-figure points for the second time this season as the Yellowjackets pulled away in the latter portion of the second half. Brendan Howard and Melvin Newbern Jr. contributed 11 points each and Zack Rollins had 10 points for MSUB.

Montana State Billings (14-13, 9-10 GNAC) moved into a three-way tie for fifth place in the GNAC with Western Washington University (15-14, 9-10 GNAC) and Simon Fraser University (15-12, 9-10). The Yellowjackets play at University of Alaska Fairbanks Saturday afternoon at 3:15 p.m. local time to end the season. A win against the Nanooks would guarantee MSUB a coveted position in the top six.

“The guys played determined in the second half and in the last eight minutes with the game on the line,” commented head coach Mick Durham. “The road has been very tough on this team but we preached to just play harder and harder. It keeps us alive with one game to go and another tough opponent Saturday night.”

MSU Billings struggled to score after the opening tip and they failed to make a field goal until Zharon Richmond hit a mid-range jump shot nearly six minutes into the contest. Alaska Anchorage shot marginally better than the ‘Jackets in the first half and took an early 11-4 lead but six rebounds by Terashima helped MSUB stay within striking distance. They trailed 29-24 heading into the locker room.

Tyler Green made a 3-point shot in the opening possession of the second half and Newbern Jr. tied the game for the first time 29-29 after rolling in a shot off the glass. Both teams began to find their stride offensively, and the lead changed seven times before the ‘Jackets swung the momentum in their favor for the last time.

Down 47-42 with just under nine minutes left, MSUB broke out a 13-0 run up to the four minute mark of play. Newbern Jr. struck down a final comeback effort by UAA after he bounced in a layup and drew a foul in the paint for a three point play and eventually a 59-49 lead. A technical foul was called on Anchorage head coach Rusty Osbourne, sending the ‘Jackets to the line again and the Seawolves ran out of time to make up the 12-point margin with just under two minutes left in the game.

After shooting just 7-for-25 (28-percent) in the first half, the Yellowjackets went 14-for-22 (64-percent) to creep up to a 44.7-percent field goal percentage in the contest. The Seawolves ended the night 20-for-57 from the floor (35-percent) and made six three pointers on 23 attempts (26-percent).

Tyler Brimhall posted 13 points to lead the Seawolves scoring but fouled out of the game with two and a half minutes to play. Niko Bevens narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds and Brennan Rymer finished with 11 points and seven boards for UAA.

The Yellowjackets reversed their recent trend and out-rebounded the Seawolves 37-32. Terashima led all players with 11 boards. Green pitched in five while Howard and Rollins roped in four each.

The Seawolves committed 24 personal fouls compared to 13 for MSUB. Terashima went 9-for-10 from the line and the Yellowjackets shot 73.1-percent in free throws on the night. Meanwhile, Alaska Anchorage connected on 83.3-percent of free throw attempts.

MSUB recorded 26 points in the paint compared to 20 for Alaska Anchorage. The Yellowjacket bench also outscored UAA 31-12.

MSU Billings swept the season series against the Seawolves 2-0 for the first time since 2014 and improved to 33-45 all-time against UAA. The Yellowjackets will have a chance to grab a 4-0 sweep of the two Alaskan GNAC teams if they can succeed in beating Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday.

The Yellowjackets secure a post-season berth with a victory on Saturday over UAF. MSUB would also appear in the top-six if Western Washington or Simon Fraser loses their final game. The Vikings play Concordia on Saturday night while Simon Fraser hosts Western Oregon.

Terashima earned St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game. The sophomore recorded his first double-double since posting 10 points and 12 assists on November 14, 2017 against Yellowstone Christian College. He also surpassed a career high nine rebounds by two which he also set against Yellowstone Christian College last season. Terashima made nine free-throws on 10 attempts, two made-free throws short of a career best 11-for-11 performance against on February 14 against Simon Fraser…The Yellowjackets finished ninth in the GNAC standings last season and made their last post-season tournament appearance in 2016-17 with a regular season conference record of 9-11.

MSU Billings plays University of Alaska Fairbanks at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. Fans can watch live by navigating the GNAC Stretch Internet Portal. Live statistics are also available using the same link.

Meanwhile for MSUB’s women, a slow-paced encounter tilted the way of Western Washington University on Thursday night at Alterowitz Gym as the Vikings won it 53-48.

While the Yellowjackets led 28-27 at halftime, they scored just three points in the third quarter as momentum shifted to WWU. In spite of the lack of offensive production, MSUB remained in the game until the final buzzer as the Vikings suffered from a cold night as well.

“Tonight was a disappointing loss,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “We had every chance to win this game but just couldn’t make a shot when we needed it. Offensively, it was one of our poorest games of the season.”

Thursday marked the fourth time this season MSUB failed to reach 50 points in a game, as the ‘Jackets made just 16 of 60 shots (26.7 percent) on the night. The Vikings were not much better however, shooting just 31.3 percent (15-for-48). Kelsey Rogers led all players with 13 points, while Katrina Gimmaka had an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double.

For MSUB, Taylor Cunningham scored 11 points and Taryn Shelley was also in double figures with 10. Vanessa Stavish finished with nine points and seven rebounds, and Hannah Collins had seven points and seven assists.

It was a sloppy game by both sides, with 42 total fouls being called and WWU committing 25 turnovers compared with 18 by MSUB. The Vikings held a narrow 43-41 edge in rebounding, and made 17 of 23 foul shots (73.9 percent). MSUB meanwhile made just 12 of 23 free throws (52.2 percent), which was its worst performance of the season from the line.

“Our inefficiency at the foul line really hurt us tonight,” Woodin said. “Free-throw shooting has been pretty good for us all year, but tonight it really hurt us.”

During its lowest-scoring quarter of the 2018-19 season, MSUB went 0-for-11 from the field and committed seven turnovers as all three of its third-quarter points came on free throws. The ‘Jackets however also created five turnovers on the defensive end, and WWU totaled just 10 points in the period to lead 37-30 entering the fourth.

“Our defense kept us in the game, especially in the third quarter,” Woodin said as the 25 turnovers were the second-most by an MSUB opponent this season. “They turned it over more than normal, but we did not take advantage of it.”

Hannah Collins drained a three to start the final quarter, and by the six-minute mark the score was tied at 39-39. But Gimmaka immediately countered with a trey, and the Vikings never trailed after that. MSUB kept it close down the stretch, as WWU’s lead never extended past four points until the closing seconds. WWU iced the game by going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute of play.

MSUB’s cold shooting extended beyond the 3-point line, as it made just 4 of 18 attempts from long range (22.2 percent). MSUB out-scored WWU 20-16 in the paint, and had a dozen second-chance points thanks in large part to 15 offensive rebounds.

Janessa Williams provided an immediate spark of the bench in the first quarter, posting up effectively and helping MSUB to an early lead. The junior finished with six points, four rebounds, and a block while playing 16 minutes.

“Saturday will be an important game for us,” Woodin said. “I would like to see us honor our seniors with an outstanding effort and a win for them. They deserve it.”

THE BUZZ: Williams was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 16-24 all-time against WWU and is 9-9 in home games…WWU won the season series 2-0 after picking up a 63-57 victory in Bellingham, Washington on December 1, 2018…Collins was one assist shy of her personal best of eight…Taryn Shelley went 5-for-6 from the foul line, notching her most made free throws in a game this year.

NEXT UP: The 2018-19 season comes to a close Saturday night, when the ‘Jackets host Simon Fraser University. Tipoff is at 7 p.m., and a Senior Night ceremony will follow the game to honor Vanessa Stavish, Taylor Edwards, and Brina Hull. Live video with play-by-play commentary and live statistics will be available online via the MSUB Stretch Internet portal here.