(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
BOZEMAN -- Three players finished with at least 20 points to carry Eastern Washington to a 93-77 victory over Montana State on Thursday, Feb. 11, in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball contest in Worthington Arena. Both teams' overall records match at 9-6 following the matchup, but the Eags remain in the Big Sky lead at 8-2 while MSU fell to 6-3 in Big Sky action.
The Bobcats led by as many as six and held a 33-29 edge with 6 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the first half. EWU responded with a 9-0 run and eventually led 49-42 at the halftime break.
Eastern Washington shot 19-for-31 (61.3%) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and were led by Meadows's 17 points.
Montana State battled back early in the second half and trailed just 61-59 following a Borja Fernandez layup at the 14:31 mark of the second half. However, EWU built a majority of its advantage from the free throw line up to 10 in less than three minutes. A seven-point scoring stretch by the Eags put the game out of reach.
While the Bobcats hung with the Eags offensively through the first half, EWU held MSU to a 32.4% clip from the field in the second half. The Bobcats also went 1-for-9 from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes.
EWU's Tanner Groves led all scorers in the game with 26 points. He also grabbed 12 rebounds to complete a double-double performance. Meadows finished with 21 points for the Eags while Kim Aiken Jr. scored 20 and had eight rebounds. Eastern Washington also took advantage of its trips to the charity stripe as the Eags made 27 of their 28 free throw attempts.
"They're the best passing team in the league and if you make a mistake defensively, they make you pay for it," Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle said. "They have shooters all over the place and they have the best post guy in the league (in Tanner Groves). He's playing like the MVP in the league and he's hard to stop. They really put you in a predicament and we just didn't slow them down at all tonight."
MSU was outshot by EWU 52.8-36.6% from the field. The Bobcats were paced in the scoring column by Amin Adamu (16), Mike Hood (12) and Nick Gazelas (11). Adamu also had nine rebounds for MSU.
Montana State is scheduled to play the second of two contests against Eastern Washington on Saturday. The Bobcats and Eagles are slated for tipoff at 12 p.m. in Worthington Arena.