Colbert’s heroics not enough

Junior guard Marcus Colbert came up big for the Cats on the final road trip of the season, scoring 27 points on Feb. 26, and 26 on Feb. 28. Despite this, the Cats couldn’t prevent another weekend of getting swept on the road. Montana State traveled west first to Eastern Washington to face the Eagles and then to Idaho for a tilt against the Vandals.

The Eagles and Bobcats first played this season a few weeks ago on Feb. 7, and the Cats fell in a low scoring affair, 61-51. This matchup was much higher scoring, but the result was the same for MSU. The Eagles came out firing on all cylinders, and the Bobcats couldn’t keep up, only shooting 38.7 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. The bright spot for the Cats came from Colbert. The junior put up 27 points on 8-15 shooting and had four assists. Senior guard Michael Dison scored 10 points and sophomore guard Stephan Holm added 12 points off the bench, but the Bobcats lost in the end 92-68.

After Thursday’s blowout, the Bobcats looked to right the ship against the Vandals, but Idaho proved to be too much. Montana State and Idaho dueled for much of the game, keeping the score close and making both teams work for every point. Long scoring droughts continued to plague the Cats, but with nearly a minute left, MSU was only down three points. Things continued to not break the Cats’ way and the Vandals pulled away for the 80-73 win.

Colbert nearly matched his performance earlier in the week, posting 26 points and eight rebounds. Dison added 16 in his penultimate as a Bobcat and junior forward Danny Robison put in a workmanlike 10 points. While the Montana State offense has picked up the tempo in the last few weeks, it seems to have come at the expense of their once staunch defense. Stringing together both at the same time continues to seem to be elusive for the Cats.

The road losses drop the Cats to just 7-22 overall and 4-13 in the Big Sky Conference with just one game left in Brian Fish’s inaugural season as head coach. The last game is the home game against the University of Montana Grizzlies on March 7 at 7:05 p.m.

“This game is important if we played it June 15. It’s a chance to play a big rival. It’s gonna be a big challenge, but having said that, it’s very important to our program to finish the season in the right direction,” MSU Head Coach Brian Fish said. “It’s a big game to a lot of people.”