(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)
STOCKTON, Calif. – The Montana State men's basketball team rallied from six points down in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, but Pacific used a six-point scoring run late to earn a 74-70 victory over the Bobcats at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Wednesday.
Pacific (2-1) held a lead for a majority of the second half and extended the score to 63-57 on a Jahbril Price-Noel layup with 1 minute, 10 seconds remaining. MSU freshman Tyler Patterson connected on a 3-pointer with 49 seconds to go to cut the deficit to three.
Following a Pacific turnover, senior Xavier Bishop was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 7 seconds left. The contest looked sealed after he knocked in only one of his three attempts.
Daniss Jenkins was fouled on the ensuing possession to put the Tigers guard on the line for two free throws. He made just one of his attempts to make it a 64-61 margin. Bishop came back down the floor and was fouled again on another 3-point attempt. The senior guard made all three from the stripe to tie the game with a second on the clock. A Pacific turnover gave the 'Cats a possession with 0.5 seconds, but Amin Adamu wasn't able to convert on a lobbed tip-in attempt.
Montana State's first overtime period since the 2017-18 season opened with the Tigers scoring the first basket. Adamu responded with a 3-pointer to give the 'Cats a 67-66 advantage with 3 minutes remaining.
However, the Tigers took control to complete a victory. Broc Finstuen corralled his sixth offensive rebound of the game on a missed shot and connected on two free throws to give Pacific the edge. A layup by Justin Moore and another layup by Finstuen put the contest out of reach.
"I commend our guys for fighting back," Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle said. "(Pacific) is a good, physical team. They grinded it out. Our guys in the first half, we weren't very tough. The second half, we came back and fought. We've got to do a better job of establishing ourselves in the paint."
Pacific held the lead for nearly 30 minutes despite shooting 34.3 percent from the floor. The Bobcats shot 43.5 percent but lost the rebounding battle (40-28) while the Tigers had 27 second chance points to MSU's 5. Pacific also went 22-for-30 (73.3 percent) from the charity stripe while Montana State made 7 of 14 free throws.
"I thought the story of the game was the minus-12 on the boards, 27 second-chance points and 14 points off turnovers," Sprinkle said. "But that's what (Pacific) does. It was basically like a conference game to prepare for us. A couple of our new guys, they found out how physical Division I basketball is. Sometimes you've just got to go through it."
Adamu led a trio of Bobcats in double figures with 17 points. Bishop had 15 points while he and Adamu led MSU with 3 assists apiece. Borja Fernandez scored 10 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Jubrile Belo had a team-high 8 rebounds.
Montana State is currently scheduled to play two more non-conference games ahead of the start of its Big Sky schedule on Dec. 31. The Bobcats are slated to travel to Washington State to face the Cougars on Dec. 18.