The men’s basketball team fell to the University of Montana 80-72 Saturday, Jan. 30 in front of the biggest crowd in four years.
The Brick Breeden Fieldhouse was packed with 5,407 fans as the Cats took on the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies scored first, but the Cats took an early four point lead off of a three-pointer from senior guard Marcus Colbert. With four and a half minutes left in the half, the Bobcats stretched their lead to seven points, leading 31-24. The Griz closed out the half on a 10-6 run, and cut the deficit to just three points.
Freshman Tyler Hall got the Cats rolling in the second half, scoring in just the first 13 seconds of play. The Grizzlies answered back, and four minutes into the second half had tied the game on a three from junior Jack Lopez. The Bobcats responded, going on an 8-0 run sparked by a layup from senior Danny Robinson, and taking a 51-43 lead with twelve and a half minutes left in the game. Montana would not back down, and in the last 10 minutes of the game the lead changed seven times before the Griz took the final lead at the 4:36 mark. The Griz stretched their lead to eight with 36 seconds left, and cruised to a 80-72 win over the Bobcats.
While the Cats stayed with the Griz when looking at the scoreboard, the Grizzlies dominated when it came down to rebounds. Montana out-rebounded MSU 41-28, and scored 16 second-chance points.
“I feel like you’ve got to credit them, but at the same time there were a lot of things that they did that came down to us rebounding,” Colbert said. “They crashed the boards harder than we did and the numbers showed it.” Montana also made more trips to the charity stripe than the Bobcats, shooting 25-33 to the Cats 14-18.
“You can talk about a lot of different things, but everything points to toughness,” Montana State Head Coach Brian Fish said. “They were the tougher team tonight.” The Bobcats were led by Colbert, who put up a team-high 21 points and dished out four assists and Hall, who contributed 17 points in the effort. Montana’s Walter Wright put up a game-high 24 points for the Grizzlies.
With the loss the Cats fall to 9-12 overall, and 4-5 in the Big Sky Conference and the Griz improve to 8-1 in conference play. The Bobcats travel to Portland, Oregon on Feb. 4 to take on the Vikings of Portland State.