By Brad Kale
While they weren’t busy stuffing their bellies with turkey, the MSU men’s basketball team was competing. They played Louisiana Tech and took part in the Mayan Division tournament in Cancun, where they took home the trophy.
Unfortunately, on Friday, Nov. 18, they fell to Louisiana Tech 71-58 in Louisiana. The Bulldogs won the free throw game 25 to 9, which provided LTU with a strong advantage. The Bobcats also had a poor shooting night at 34 percent for the game. Sophomore Harald Frey led the team with 17 points and three assists, and Freshman Isaac Bonton chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. The Cats were also without the team’s leading scorer, junior Tyler Hall, who was injured against UM Western two days prior.
Fortunately, the Bobcats retaliated three days later down in Cancun, Mexico for the Cancun Challenge. They defeated Binghamton 74-64, and Hall was healthy to play. Heading into the second half, it appeared it would be a repeat of the game against Louisiana Tech, with the Cats trailing 31-28. In the first half they shot 33 percent from the field, but after the break, the team finished the game at 59 percent. Shortly into the second period, the team went on 7-2 run, and continued to build on it. Hall led the team with 18 points on a very efficient 3-6 from the three-point line and five assists. Junior Keljin Blevins scored 13 points and eight rebounds with seven free throws. Frey finished with 13 points and two steals.
For the trophy, MSU took on Southeast Missouri. There, they took the win in a high scoring game of 88-82. From the start, Hall looked unaffected as he buried two 3-pointers in the first few minutes, one being the first points of the game. He led the way with an enormous 34 points, 24 from the three ball. But the opposing team took on the challenge.
MSU built strong leads throughout the game, but Southeast Missouri always managed to come back. At one point, the opposing team held a 60-59 lead, but that was the last for them when the Bobcats went on a 19-8 run over four and a half minutes by a quick two from Isaac Bonton and Blevins. Frey chipped in with a strong all around game: eight points, five assists and two steals. Unfortunately, he suffered a facial injury in the final few minutes where he was forced to sit out. Senior Konner Frey helped with six points, six rebounds and a steal. The team ended with a 50 percent shooting and 40 percent from the three.
On Sunday, Nov. 26, the Bobcats fell to Fresno State 80-67. The opposing team played great defense against top-scorer Hall, and it was this intense defensive effort from the Bulldogs that held the Cats back.