(Editor's Note: Montana State press release)
BROOKINGS, S.D.—South Dakota State made seven of its first nine 3-pointers and shot 60% from the field in the first half to gain an ample lead and eventually topped Montana State, 91-73, in a non-conference men's basketball matchup in Frost Arena on Wednesday.
Montana State kept things within single digits for a majority of the first half. It was a 30-24 contest with just under 7 minutes remaining following a reverse layup by Xavier Bishop. But SDSU's offense kept clicking offensively through the entire 20 minutes of the opening half.
The Jackrabbits connected on 21 of their 35 shots from the field and their 77.8% clip from long range pushed SDSU ahead 52-35 at halftime.
MSU fell down by as many as 26 but battled its way down to a 14-point deficit in the final 20 minutes of play. The Jacks eventually closed things out, but the 'Cats played the home side on event terms in the second half.
"They're a tremendous team," Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle said. "I said it before (the game), they can dribble, pass and shoot at every single position. They make it really hard to guard. They can all go by you 1-on-1 and if you help off any of them, it's a 3. When they get going in this building, they're as good a team that we'll play all season."
Ten different Bobcats found their way into the scoring column. Jubrile Belo led the way with 13 points, followed by Abdul Mohamed and Great Osobor who notched 10 apiece and Sam Lecholat who recorded nine. Osobor led MSU on the boards with nine rebounds while Mohamed had seven.
South Dakota State finished the game shooting 59% from the field while MSU converted on 43.8% of its attempts. Six Jacks scored in double digits as they improved to 3-1 overall while the Bobcats dropped to 1-2.
"They're going to make us better," Sprinkle said of playing SDSU. "They exposed some of the things we don't do well. They were really physical with us. Now we need to respond."
Montana State continues its road stand this week on Saturday. The Bobcats travel to Albuquerque to play the New Mexico Lobos at 2 p.m. The game airs online on the Mountain West Network and Stadium. It will be broadcast on the Bobcat Radio Network locally on 1450 AM and on the Varsity Network app.