Bobcat men drop key conference road games down the stretch

The men’s basketball team faced two tough opponents on the road this past week, losing to Weber State University Feb. 25 and then to Idaho State on Feb. 27.

The Bobcats came out strong against the Wildcats, and led by 11 seven-and-a-half minutes in, leading 18-7 off of a layup from junior forward Sarp Gobeloglu. Weber would not go down however, and at half had closed the margin to single digits, with Montana State leading 34-30. Weber State started off the half with a 9-0 run, pounding the paint and taking a 39-34 lead.

Back-to-back buckets from freshman guard Tyler Hall brought the Bobcats to within one, but that would be the closest MSU would get. The Wildcats led 56-53 with 6:53 left in the game when they went on a 7-2 run to take an eight point advantage and pull out a 68-60 win over the Bobcats. The Bobcats were led in scoring by Hall, who posted a game-high 22 points for the Cats. Senior Marcus Colbert added 17 points and four assists for the Bobcats. Weber State was led in scoring by Jeremy Senglin with 17 points, but it was the inside combination of center Zach Braxton and forward Kyndahl Hill that proved to be devastating against the Bobcats.

“For the first time we got absolutely whipped inside,” said Bobcat head coach Brian Fish.  “Credit them, they pounded us with Braxton and Hill and that turned the game around. We have to get better inside. That’s our Achilles heel, and we have to get better.” Braxton and Hill combined for 30 points and 14 rebounds against MSU. Hall moved passed the 500 point margin, becoming the fastest player in Montana State history to do so.

The Bobcats traveled to Pocatello, Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 27, to take on the Bengals of Idaho State. The Cats jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, but the Bengals answered with a 10-0 run to take the lead at the 13:27 mark. The Bengals stretched their lead out to 11 at the 1:45 mark, leading the Bobcats 38-27 before the Cats went on a 4-1 run to end the half and decrease the Bengal’s lead to eight. The Cats carried that momentum into the first few minutes of the second half, starting off the second half with a 7-2 run. The Cats slowly erased the deficit, and at the 4:14 mark took the lead off a jumper from Hall. The lead didn’t last long however, and the Bengals used a 7-2 run in the final two minutes beat the Cats 76-69. Hall led the Cats in shooting, dropping 27 points in the effort.

The Cats drop to 12-16 overall, 7-9 in the Big Sky Conference. The Bobcats will finish their regular season play at home in the Brick against Northern Colorado on Thursday, March 3 at 7:05 p.m. and North Dakota on March 5 at 2:05 p.m.