The Montana State men’s basketball team hit the road this week, heading off to face Big Sky Conference foes Sacramento State and Portland State (PSU). The trip was not a successful one for the Bobcats, losing both by double digit margins.
The trip started with a loss to the league-leading Sacramento State Hornets Thursday night 75-59. The Cats hung with the Hornets for the first half, only down 36-33. Early in the second half, the Cats took a 42-41 lead, but Sac State got hot down the stretch, and the Cats couldn’t keep pace. Shooting nearly 60 percent in the second to the Cats’ 32 percent, the Hornets turned what had been a close game into a near blowout in the last 10 minutes.
For Sac State guard Mikh McKinney led all scorers with 23 points, along with eight assists and five steals. Guard Dylan Garrity also put up 18 points, including 12 from 3-point range. For the Bobcats, junior Marcus Colbert led the team with 13 points, closely followed by senior Eric Norman and sophomore Stephan Holm, both with 12 points. Additionally, junior Danny Robison grabbed double-digit rebounds for the first time in his Bobcat career, snagging 10.
On Saturday, things went south quickly against the PSU Vikings. The Cats gave up a whopping 47 first half points to the scorching hot Vikings, led by a backcourt that shot an incredible 9-11 from beyond the arc throughout the game. Things didn’t get much better for the Cats in the second half — the Vikings continued to build their lead, getting points from a deep bench complement and solid free throw shooting.
Hornet guards DaShaun Wiggins and Tim Douglas led all scorers with 18 points and 17 points, respectively. For the Bobcats, senior guard Michael Dison put up 13 points on 3 of 9 shooting. The Bobcats struggled with consistent shooting once again, shooting just 26 percent from three. Dison was the only Bobcat with more than 10 points although Norman pulled down 10 rebounds.
Of his team’s offensive struggles at times, MSU head coach Brian Fish commented, “Success breeds more confidence and when you’re not making shots and you go thru those it just allows you to get your dobber down and pout a little bit … we’ve gotta find a better way [to score points].”
The losses drop Montana State to just 4-17 overall and 1-7 in conference play. The Cats return to the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse this week for a pair of conference matchups against Big Sky newcomer Idaho Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7:05 p.m. and Eastern Washington on Feb. 7 for a 2:35 p.m. tip off.