The Bobcat men took advantage of a week of home games and defeated Northern Arizona 101-58 and Southern Utah 80-73 in conference games in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
On Thursday, Feb. 11 the Cats hosted the Lumberjacks from Northern Arizona. The Cats rode hot shooting the entire game, shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 58.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Cats rained in a Big Sky record 25 three-pointers en route to a 101-58 victory over NAU. Senior guard Marcus Colbert got things started for the Bobcats, knocking down his first three just 28 seconds into the first half. Leading 11-8, the Cats went on a 25-0 run to expand their lead to 36-8. By the end of the first half the Bobcats established a commanding 38 point lead, outscoring the Lumberjacks 56-18. “I thought defensively and rebounding we were pretty good in the first half,” MSU Head Coach Brian Fish said. The Cats out-rebounded the Lumberjacks 28-7 in the first half as well as out-shooting them 63.3 percent to 17.4 percent.
MSU’s first-half fire carried into the second, as freshman guard Tyler Hall nailed a three just 10 seconds into the second half. This sparked a 19-8 Bobcat run, and the Cats established their largest lead of the game at the 14:21 mark. MSU led 75-26, a remarkable 49 point lead. The Cats cruised to a 101-58 win over the NAU, setting an NCAA record for most three-pointers made this season, and were only three away from an all-time NCAA record. “They were good shots,” Fish said. “They were penetrate-and-kick, they were shots we practice, and tonight they went in.” The Bobcats had five players in double-digit scoring, four of them reserves. Hall led the Bobcats in scoring, racking up 29 points, with 23 of them in the first half. Freshman Sam Neumann had a career high 15 points on 5-5 shooting from beyond the arc and junior Nahjee Matlock scored 13 points while dishing out 10 assists.
The Bobcats followed up that impressive performance with a conference win over Big Sky rival Southern Utah on Saturday, Feb. 13. The Cats started the game off with a 19-6 run to take a 13 point lead at the 12:34 mark in the first half. The Southern Utah Thunderbirds cut the lead to 11, but the Cats pushed it back out to 14 at the end of the half. The Bobcats lead 40-26 at intermission. MSU continued to control the game in the second half, keeping a double digit lead for most of the second half. The Thunderbirds would not go down quietly, however, and with a minute and 20 seconds left, cut the lead to only three points. With the team only leading 73-70, Colbert stepped up and answered with a three-pointer, an assist to a Zach Green dunk and a pair of free-throws to seal the game for the Bobcats. Colbert finished with 11 points, three rebounds and a season high nine assists despite a slight leg injury. Hall led the Cats in scoring again, scoring 14 points as well as snagging three steals. MSU now stands above .500 with the win, reaching 7-6 in the Big Sky Conference.
The Bobcats travel to Missoula next Saturday, Feb. 20, to take on the Grizzlies of Montana. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.