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MSU men's season comes to a close against Eastern Washington

Abdul Mohamed
Posted at 8:35 PM, Mar 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 23:56:31-05

BOISE — This time, the deficit was too much.

Jacob Groves scored 15 points and Tanner Groves added 14 as second-seeded Eastern Washington built an imposing first-half lead against No. 5 Montana State and then fended off the Bobcats in the second half for a 65-55 victory in the Big Sky Conference men's basketball championship game on Saturday.

The Eagles (16-7 overall) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament while ending MSU's season. The Bobcats, which in Friday's semifinals overcame a double-digit deficit to topple No. 1 Southern Utah, finish the season at 13-10 after reaching their first conference title game since 2009.

The Eagles bolted to a 26-9 lead with 9:08 remaining in the first quarter. MSU managed to trim the lead to 38-24 by halftime and rallied to within nine points with under five minutes remaining but couldn't close the gap.

Abdul Mohamed led the Bobcats with 15 points and Jubrile Belo notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bobcats shot 34.5% as they connected on 19 of 55 field goal attempts. EWU hit 21 of 52 shots. MSU attempted 17 3-pointers but converted just two of them to the Eagles' four.

Eastern Washington completed three wins over the Bobcats this season after sweeping MSU in Bozeman in February.