BOZEMAN — The Montana State men's basketball team is 2-1 after three games this season. Although head coach Danny Sprinkle called the Bobcats' play sloppy after beating Yellowstone Christian, he was glad some players were able to gain confidence in their abilities.
“I’m glad our guys got some confidence out of it," Sprinkle said. "Some of our guys that we wanted to break out offensively, guys like Mike Hood, Abdul (Mohamed), guys who are capable of doing that, I think it was really good for them to be out on the court and be aggressive offensively.”
The Bobcats were without starting point guard Xavier Bishop, and relied heavily on freshman Kellen Tynes, and they might have to do so for a little longer as Sprinkle is unsure of when Bishop will return from a lower leg injury.
“He seems to be getting better and better the more comfortable with the offense he’s getting," Sprinkle said of Tynes, a freshman out of Canada. "He works hard on his shot and you can see he’s knocking down shots, and when he gets his feet set, he’s a pretty good shooter. But the one thing that surprised me too, he’s made really good decisions in the games. In the first three games, he’s done a good job reading where the help side is and skipping the ball over. He’s done a really good job making the right reads.”
The Bobcats added much needed shooting to their roster in the offseason and it has paid off on the court. Their post play, however, has plenty of room for improvement.
“It needs to improve a lot," said Sprinkle. "I don’t think our guys are in great shape yet. It does take longer for big guys to get into shape. I think we’ve left a lot of points on the board. I thought against Pacific, Jubrile (Belo) was really sloppy, we ran a couple plays, he should have had about 6 or 8 more points, wasn't really strong with the ball and he knows it, but I think once he gets into shape, gets his legs back, gets his explosion back, he’ll be able to finish through contact and he’ll be dunking those instead of having to go to the free throw line.”
Despite Sprinkle enjoying not having opposing fans on the road -- as it helped them in their win against UNLV -- he would prefer his players to play in front of packed arenas.
“There’s really no home court advantage this year, there’s no fans," he said. "We’ve actually played pretty well at UNLV, thank God there were no fans there. It will be the same thing this weekend. It’s kind of fun, actually being on the road. Now, I would rather play UNLV when their fans are there, I want our guys to experience that energy, it’s kind of just pure basketball. You can hear their coaches yelling, they know our calls, we know their calls -- it’s kind of just mano-a-mano when you get out there.”
The Bobcats play at Washington State on Friday night at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.