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HomenewsWith a Second-half Lead Against Portland State, Montana State's Men Triumph Once...

With a Second-half Lead Against Portland State, Montana State’s Men Triumph Once More

The Montana State men’s basketball team, which was missing two of its key players, broke away in the second half to defeat Portland State 75-66 on Thursday.

RaeQuan Battle (19 points), Great Osobor (17 points, 10 rebounds), and Caleb Fuller (18 points) all contributed to the Bobcats’ victory over the Vikings despite Darius Brown II picking up fouls and Jubrile Belo missing the majority of the second half (9-12, 3-5 Big Sky Conference).

Cameron Parker, a former point guard for Montana, scored 19 points for Portland State in the second half to keep the game intriguing, but the Vikings were unable to take advantage of empty MSU possessions as they went 9 for 15 from the charity stripe.

Danny Sprinkle, the head coach at Montana State, told Bobcat Sports Radio Network that Portland State was a challenging squad to play against. They exert so much effort while playing, and the situation is chaotic. You need to be skilled and disciplined, and that’s what our guys were tonight.

The defense limited Portland State to 66 points, which is precisely at the team’s season average, and the Bobcats’ 75 points were the team’s second-most in conference play so far. MSU outshot Portland State 47.3% to 41.7% and outrebounded them 36-30 despite Belo’s absence for the entirety of the second half.

For the Bobcats, Jubrile Belo scored the opening three points before RaeQuan Battle threw a skip pass to an open Caleb Fuller in the corner for three points.

With 11 points in the first half and a season-high 17 points overall, Fuller would go on to have his greatest performance while wearing a Bobcats jersey.

The game saw sawed for the majority of the first half when the UC Davis transfer went by the defense for a slam on the subsequent possession.

With a Second-half Lead Against Portland State, Montana State's Men Triumph Once More

Caleb Fuller was outstanding tonight, according to Sprinkle, who on Thursday night earned his 70th victory as a head coach. He and Great Osobor, in my opinion, did an outstanding job.

Despite Portland State scoring at 18:34, the Vikings had a six-point lead with 5:25 left in the first half. Fuller responded to the call with four straight baskets, followed by Belo and Osobor scoring MSU’s final seven points of the half, including a Robert Ford III steal and score that resulted in an Osobor dunk with 41 seconds left in the half.

Despite having a 36-34 advantage at the break, Montana State had Brown II in foul trouble and Belo nursing a hand injury from the opening period. The situation was thus set for MSU’s bench to accept the challenge of eliminating the Vikings.

The scoring began with a three-pointer from Tyler Patterson, and early in the second half, Brown II broke free for a layup to give the visitors a seven-point lead. After that, Parker was inspired to put the Vikings on his back, scoring five points during an 8-3 Portland State outburst.

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Similar to how they did in the first half, Fuller and Osobor carried the load early in the second half as they attempted to quell Parker’s abrupt outburst.

When Sam Lecholat’s charge angered both Portland State’s coaching staff and the home crowd, the game was on the verge of becoming out of control.

As the Vikings made things interesting in the last minutes, tensions almost reached their climax, but jumpers from Parker calmed the home crowd.

The MSU offensive then stopped being effective. Before Fuller’s finger roll ended the scoring drought for the Bobcats, they were 0 for 4.

Portland State managed three free throws and a series of ineffective plays before the final media break, but MSU struggled to string together fruitful possessions. The Vikings were unable to capitalize.

With a Second-half Lead Against Portland State, Montana State's Men Triumph Once More

The door was open for the Vikings, but Battle slammed it shut. With 2:55 left, he stepped into a three-point shot after receiving an easy pass off an inbound play that resulted in a dunk, giving MSU its greatest lead of the game at 66-59.

Sprinkle remarked, “We started getting some stops and hitting some shots. “I didn’t have any issues with the shots we were taking because it was only a matter of time before we got two or three in a row,” the player said.

Battle curled around a screen was fouled on a three-point attempt, and then calmly sank all three free throws in an eerily similar play to the one he made in the final seconds of last Saturday’s victory against Montana.

The game was essentially over with 1:36 remaining and a lead of 71-59. Ford III and Fuller each contributed four free throws in the last minutes to seal the 75-66 victory.

Parker scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Vikings. Hunter Woods, a high school nemesis of Darius Brown II from their days of playing in Pasadena, California, was the only other Viking in double figures with 11 points.

With a 7-2 record, the Bobcats are currently in second place in the Big Sky standings, but this Saturday at 8 p.m. MT, they will travel to face third-place Sacramento State, giving them a chance to pull ahead of the competition. The Nest on Saturday will be televised live on ESPN+, much like all other Big Sky Conference contests.

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