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HIGHLIGHTS: Montana State powers past Omaha, 82-54

Danny Sprinkle
Posted at 7:22 PM, Dec 10, 2022

(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)

BOZEMAN — Powered by a season-best 18 points from Great Osobor and disciplined offensive play, the Montana State men’s basketball team routed the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks 82-54 in Worthington Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Bobcats (6-5) committed a season-low eight turnovers while scoring 24 points off 17 Mavericks (3-8) turnovers. In another balanced offensive showing, 10 different Bobcats scored as the team connected on 49.2% of its field goal attempts. Rounding out the dominant performance, the Bobcats out-rebounded the Mavericks by a 33-31 margin.

Saturday’s win also marked the third straight for the Bobcats, who have won the last 12 games in Worthington Arena — a win streak dating back to Dec. 30, 2021.

“I’m super proud of our guys,” Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle told Bobcat Sports Radio Network. “Coming home and playing in front of their home fans for the first time in a while really means something. I know when this team is engaged, and they were engaged tonight and in both games this week.”

RaeQuan Battle had another double-figure scoring night with 16 points on 6-for-15 shooting, plus he grabbed a career-high nine rebounds to lead all players. Jubrile Belo chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes of work, while Robert Ford III sparked the Bobcats on both ends of the floor with 8 points, three assists and three steals.

After Frankie Fidler briefly put the Mavericks up 2-0, a barrage of threes from RaeQuan Battle, Darius Brown II and Tyler Patterson gave the Bobcats a 9-4 lead.

Then Great Osobor and the rest of Montana State’s second unit took over.

The sophomore forward backed down his man on the left block, threw down a dunk along the baseline and baffled the defense with two spin moves that gave him a quick eight points. Threes from Patrick McMahon and Robert Ford III would give the Bobcats a 24-14 lead with 11:56 to go.

“I thought Great Osobor was terrific,” Sprinkle said. “He set the tone for the game and got three-straight baskets down low. Once he started dominating, it opened up everything else for us.”

Montana State wouldn’t relent in the first half. Led by 10 first-half points from Osobor and Battle, plus eight from Robert Ford III, the Bobcats led by as many as 24 in the first frame. The Bobcats went on a 13-0 run late in the first half while the Mavericks went 7 minutes and 19 seconds without a made field goal. Omaha would score on its final two possessions of the first half to make it a 46-26 game in favor of the Bobcats at intermission.

Although the Mavericks would score on back-to-back possessions to open the second half, the Bobcats kept working the ball inside to Osobor and Fuller, who kept wearing down Omaha’s bigs and drawing contact underneath. In the highlight of the second half, Battle tipped a pass at the head of MSU’s defense and threw down a dunk at the other end to put the Bobcats up 62-41 with 11:08 to go. From that point on, MSU led by at least 20 points.

The Montana State defense would force nine Omaha turnovers and hold the Mavericks without a made three in the second half. With the game fully in hand, the hosts would lead by as many as 30 points on two occasions: first off a layup from Sam Lecholat, and then off a three from Carter Ash that made it an 82-52 ballgame with 68 seconds left. Omaha would score on its final possession and MSU would let the shot clock wind down on its final possession to cap off the 82-54 win.

Jaeden Marshall led the Mavericks with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while Marquel Sutton was the only other player in double-figures for Omaha with 10 points. Saturday’s game capped off a seven-game road trip for the Mavericks, who haven’t played a home game since Nov. 16.

The Bobcats will conclude their home non-conference schedule with a game against Northwest Indian College on Saturday, Dec. 17. From there, they will take a trip to Tucson, Ariz. to face the Arizona Wildcats in the non-conference finale on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Sky Conference play at home against Idaho on Dec. 29.