THE MATCHUP

The Montana State Bobcats entered Saturday’s home contest versus Northern Arizona fresh off of a thrilling 77-74 victory over Portland State on Th, which extended their winning streak to ten games. The Bobcats held a half-game lead over conference rival Weber Land for the meridian spot in the Big Sky standings before the matchup, while the Lumberjacks of NAU came in with a three.v game deficit to the Academy of Montana for the ever-important fifth spot in the conference standings with the conference tournament less than a month away. NAU defeated Montana in Missoula, outlasting the Griz 72-67 in overtime on Thursday.

THE Issue

Montana State gear up the tone defensively all game, blocking v shots and forcing seven turnovers, which carried them to a 72-70 victory. While their defense helped lead the Bobcats to belongings a atomic number 82 of viii-plus points for the bulk of the game, NAU surged late and tied the game at 70-70 on a Nik Mains three-ball with 35 seconds to play. The Bobcats had the final possession, however, and senior point guard Xavier Bishop delivered a clutch layup through contact in the final seconds to seal the victory.

Montana Country has at present won 16 of its last 17 games and have their first xx-win season in 20 years. MSU sits at 12-2 in Large Sky play, atop the league standings. NAU ends the weekend 5-9 in league play.

THE STANDOUTS

Montana Country senior Xavier Bishop/ By Jason Bacaj

For Xavier Bishop, his 23-point attempt that likewise included 6 rebounds and four assists to lead MSU over the Lumberjacks was extra special, as this afternoon’s matchup was the annual “Pack the Place in Pinkish” game to support breast cancer awareness; Bishop (who sported pink socks throughout the game) mentioned to
Skyline Sports
in a post-game interview that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer this past summertime, and he wanted to dedicate this game to her.

Popular:   Mahki Morris leads ACU to 14 point victory over Stephen F. Austin in WAC Tournament

Bishop carried the load for MSU offensively, only Jubrile Belo’s defense lit upward the box scores as well. Belo blocked four shots (each in emphatic way), and NAU struggled to get anything going in the pigment over the senior rim protector. Belo also chipped in 14 points.

For NAU, Keith Haymon helped bring his team all the style back from a 12-point 2nd one-half arrears with five 3-pointers, but his efforts couldn’t outweigh the offensive struggles of sophomore guard Jalen Cone, who shot 4-17 from the field.

QUOTABLE

“Coach Sprinkle was in that location for me, my staff and my squad were there for me… it was a tough time for me. I definitely wanted to dedicate this game to my mom; that’s my dog right there.”

  •  Xavier Bishop, in reference to his mom’s breast cancer diagnosis this summer and subsequent recovery
  • “We’ve cultivated defensive toughness since the 24-hour interval I got the job. I knew this program needed a defensive mindset to become this grouping to the top of the league.”

    Montana State third-twelvemonth head double-decker Danny Sprinkle

    SOCIAL

    WHAT’South NEXT

    Montana State hits the route for their side by side three games, visiting Eastern Washington on Th, Southern Utah next Sat, and the Academy of Montana on Sunday, February 27th.

    Northern Arizona heads to Portland on Th to face Portland State, who sit 1 game ahead of NAU in the Large Heaven standings.

    Source: https://skylinesportsmt.com/montana-state-pushes-past-nau-stays-red-hot-and-in-first-place-in-big-sky/