POCATELLO, Idaho — (Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
Montana State scored eight of the game's first 10 points and never looked back, cruising to a 72-54 win at Idaho State on Monday.
Amin Adamu and Nick Gazelas paced a balanced, efficient Bobcat attack. MSU shot 55% from the floor and held the Bengals to 32% from the floor. The win was Montana State's ninth in a row.
"I don't really know how many wins or how many in a row," said Bobcat coach Danny Sprinkle. "All I know is it's one in a row, and that's what we came here to do."
The Bobcats never trailed in the game and led by as many as 15 points in the first half. The cushion was 12 at halftime and grew to 27 in the second half on RaeQuan Battle's layup with 7:43 to play.
At about that time, MSU center Jubrile Belo – enjoying an eight-point, four-rebound, four-block game -- was whistled for a personal foul and then a technical foul, and was disqualified. Shortly after that Great Osobor, MSU's backup center, also fouled out. The Bengals punctuated those events with a 9-0 run that drew MSU's lead down to 18 and eventually down to 68-53.
That was with 2:18 to play, and MSU finished the game at the free throw line to stretch the lead to its final margin.
"It was a really physical game," Sprinkle said. "They're big, they're strong, and that's how they play. It's hard to play against them, and not a lot of (visiting) teams come in here and win."
Gazelas hit all seven of his free throws to help him match Adamu for team-high scoring honors. RaeQuan Battle scored 12 points. Osobor snagged seven rebounds and two steals for the Cats.
Idaho State kept the final score as close as it was by hitting 25 of its 35 free throws, while MSU was just 13-for-19 from the line. The Cats out-rebounded ISU 33-to-29.
MSU's ninth straight win, and seventh straight victory on the road, pushes the Bobcats to within a half-game of the Big Sky lead. The Cats are 18-5 overall, 10-2 in Big Sky play. Idaho State falls to 4-17 overall, 2-10 in the league.
Montana State returns to Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Thursday to host Portland State at 7 p.m. The Bobcats then host the NAU Lumberjacks at noon on Saturday. General admission tickets for each contest are available for just $5.