Christmas break was good to the Montana State men’s basketball team as they not only won all their home games, but continued to use the momentum while competing against tough foes from the Big Sky Conference.
The men (6-8, 3-3 conference) kicked off the new semester with a road win over Northern Colorado on Jan. 10. It was not an easy victory. The Bobcats were trailing by eight points with seven minutes left in regulation. However, they dug deep and made 13 of 23 field goal attempts in the second half to clench a three point victory over the Bears. The final score was 69-66.
Sophomore point guard Mike Dison said, “What I think is the main reason we beat UNC is the fact that we never felt we were gonna lose. The game was never out of reach for us. Also, we clamped down on defense in the last few minutes which made things easier.“
Later in the week, on Jan. 12, they lost in a tough game against the University of North Dakota (UND). UND shot 10 of 19 from behind the arc, yet the Bobcats were within one point with five minutes left. Senior guard Christian Moon was a bright spot for the Cat team, shooting 45 percent from behind the 3-point line, and netting 21 points.
The 86-73 loss snapped MSU’s four game win streak.
Dison says the team can still improve. “After the UND game, we know that we have to come focused to every game like it’s the conference championship. I think we might have gotten a little too comfortable where we were. But that loss was the wake-up call we needed.”
Overall, Dison feels the team has learned many lessons. “Over the last two games we showed that we are maturing as a team because when we got down we never quit on each other and kept believing,” he said. “In the past, I think that would have been something we couldn’t overcome. One thing we have to work on is coming out with intensity to start the game so we don’t have to play catch-up ball all game.”
Next up for the Bobcats is the first Cat-Griz matchup, in Missoula on Saturday, Jan. 19. Tipoff at is 7:05 p.m.