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MSU men stun No. 1 Southern Utah in overtime, advance to championship

Xavier Bishop
Posted at 7:45 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 00:48:50-05

BOISE — The Bobcats pulled out a stunner on Friday evening.

Amin Adamu went off for 29 points, Jubrile Belo poured in 22 and the Montana State men's basketball team shocked top-seeded Southern Utah in overtime, 80-77, in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament to advance to the championship game.

Trailing by two points at the end of regulation after battling out of a 10-point halftime deficit, Belo hit a hook shot at the buzzer to force an extra period with the scored tied at 69-69.

In overtime, with the Bobcats leading 79-77 in the final seconds, the Thunderbirds tried to inbound the ball but it was picked off by Adamu who was fouled and hit one of two free throws.

SUU's last-gasp 3-point attempt was just off, and the MSU bench erupted.

"I can't even talk right now I'm so proud of these guys," MSU coach Danny Sprinkle told Pluto TV after the game. "The heart they showed against a team like that is incredible. They deserve it."

The win over SUU is the second straight upset the No. 5 Bobcats have delivered at the Big Sky tournament after MSU knocked off No. 4 Idaho State in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Sprinkle knew that the No. 1 Thunderbirds, who the Bobcats didn't meet in the regular season, would pose a substantial challenge to his squad. But his team rose to the occasion.

"I told these guys not everybody wants to go to the deep water, that was our big deal last night and today," Sprinkle said after the game. "Only the strong survive in the deep waters and we showed could survive."

Abdul Mohamed finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and corralling 14 rebounds. Adamu grabbed nine boards and Belo had eight. Xavier Bishop, Nick Gazelas and Adamu each finished with two 3-pointers.

Montana State improved to 13-9 overall. The Thunderbirds, who were led by 22 points from Maizen Fausett, end their season at 20-4. Tevian Jones had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while John Knight III had 11 points.

The Bobcats will play Eastern Washington for the championship at 6 p.m. Saturday.