BOZEMAN — (Editor's Note: Montana State athletics press release)
A strong defensive effort and multiple standout individual performances lifted the Montana State men's basketball team to a 68-49 victory over North Dakota State on Tuesday, Dec. 7, in Worthington Arena.
The Bobcats (6-4) held the Bison (5-4) to 33.3% shooting, the lowest mark MSU has allowed to a Division I opponent this season.
MSU's defense was on display early as both sides got out slowly. NDSU took a 7-6 edge on a Willie Guy 3-pointer at the 15:28 mark of the first half. It would be the last lead for the Bison the entire contest.
The Bobcats held the advantage for most of the first half, but the Bison cut the deficit to 21-20 following two Jarius Cook free throws with 6:38 on the clock. MSU's RaeQuan Battle jumpstarted a 9-0 scoring spree by scoring of the Bobcats' points during a run that listed 3 minutes, 13 seconds. The 'Cats eventually took a 36-24 lead into halftime.
NDSU made the first field goal of the second half. MSU on its ensuing possession connected on a 3-pointer courtesy of Tyler Patterson. The Bobcats wouldn't let the game slip into double digits. Sam Griesel got the margin to 45-34 with 12:34 remaining, but the Bobcats scored five straight points which put the game out of reach.
Montana State committed just two turnovers in the first half and eventually had a season-low eight overall. The Bobcats forced 16 turnovers and scored 24 points off them. MSU's 49 points given up is the lowest total to an opponent in over two years.
The Bobcats shot 44% from the field – which included a 38.9-25% edge over NDSU – and were led by RaeQuan Battle who made 7 of 9 attempts. Battle's 16 points were his high as a Bobcat while he added five rebounds a block to his tally.
Patterson and Amin Adamu each had 14 points with Adamu adding a team-high three steals. Jubrile Belo registered 12 points and swatted two Bison shots. Abdul Mohamed grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds, while his five assists tied with Xavier Bishop for a team-best mark on the night.
Montana State's win over NDSU was its first in its last five matchups and the first Bobcat victory over the Bison since 1979. NDSU was led by Cook's 17 points while Tyree Eady had a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bobcats return to action this Saturday as Montana State travels to St. Paul, Minn., to face St. Thomas for a 6 p.m. MT tipoff. The game will be streamed on TommieSports.com, while fans can also tune into the Bobcat Radio Network locally or on msubobcats.com/watch and on the Varsity Network app.