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Montana State men's basketball defeats Montana Western, grateful to play

Montana State men's basketball defeats Montana Western, grateful to play
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 01, 2021

(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)

BOZEMAN -- Montana State had four double digit scorers and shot nearly 50% from the field en route to a 96-67 non-conference victory over Montana Western on Friday, Jan. 1, in Worthington Arena. The Bobcats improved to 3-3 overall behind the win.

The Bobcats and Bulldogs played on even terms through the contest's first 16 minutes as Montana Western hit four of its first seven attempts from 3-point range. Jamal Stephenson hit a jumper for the Bulldogs to cut the deficit to 35-34 with 3 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the first half before the Bobcats created some separation.

Montana State ended the half on an 11-0 run to push the Bobcats out to a 46-34 edge at halftime.

The trend continued to begin the second half as MSU jumped out early by outscoring Montana Western 13-2 in a less than five-minute span. An Abdul Mohamed 3-pointer put the Bobcats ahead by an over 20-point margin for the remainder of the matchup.

The Bobcats finished the contest going 39-for-80 (48.8%) from the field and totaled 21 assists and 51 rebounds as a team. Jubrile Belo (19), Amin Adamu (17), Xavier Bishop (12) and Nick Gazelas (11) scored in double digits for MSU. Adamu registered a double-double grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Kellen Tynes finished with a team-high five assists.

"The first half we had to grind it out a little bit," Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle said. "Jubrile played really well, we knew we had an advantage with size in the paint. Finally, in the second half our shooters started making some shots. Give (Montana Western) credit too, they hit 10 3's and even in the first half a couple of them were contested shots. They're a good team, they're going to do a good job I think in the Frontier Conference this year."

Montana Western shot 40% from the field with 10 of its 22 field goals coming from beyond the arc. Stephenson led a trio of Bulldogs in double digits scoring 18 points.

Montana State is scheduled to return to action with a set of back-to-back games against Northern Colorado. The Bobcats and Bears are slated to face off in Greeley next on Jan. 7.