Bobcats Men's Basketball Team Defeats Northern Arizona in Overti - News, Sports and Weather

Bobcats Men's Basketball Team Defeats Northern Arizona in Overtime

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Montana State's second-year men's basketball coach Brian Fish is pleased with what happened Saturday, a 74-72 Bobcat win in overtime at Northern Arizona. But he's happier with how it went down.
"We played the right way," Fish said after his team wiped out an eight-point deficit in the last three-and-a-half minutes of regulation, stemmed two last-second rallies by NAU, then closed strong for the victory in the extra period. "We overcame a lot of things and got a team win."
The Bobcats battled travel issues overnight Thursday and into Friday, and played uphill for the first 40 minutes Saturday. Neither team could get much traction in the first half, with seven lead changes and five ties and each team shooting poorly – the Cats hit 29% of their shots, while NAU made eight of its 24 tries. Kris Yanku's three-pointer as time expired gave the Lumberjacks a 27-24 edge at the intermission.
Montana State's second half start was strong, with the Cats making five of their first seven shots to jump to a 35-30 on the strength of an 11-3 run. NAU battled back, eventually taking a 56-50 lead on a Yanku layup with 6:07 to play and pushing the margin to eight, 60-52, on Yanku's layup at 3:36. But Tyler Hall answered with a trey, Marcus Colbert hit a short jumper, and then Hall added another three to square the score at 60 with just over a minute left. That's how regulation ended.
After opening overtime with a misfire – a turnover, a missed one-and-one free throw opportunity, and a missed three-point field goal attempt – the Bobcats began clicking. Zach Green hit a layup and converted an and-one free throw, Colbert converted a layup off a steal, and Tyler Hall hit a jumper. Zach Green's layup put the Cats up by two, then Hall's triple expanded the elad to four. After the team's traded free throws, with Hall converting MSU's, Felix Rivera-Vega nailed a three-pointer with 10 seconds to play to cut the Bobcat lead to 73-72. But Sarp Gobeloglu made one of two free throws, and Torry Johnson's three-point try failed to seal MSU's win.
Fish said the overtime period, especially, showed his team's mettle. "There's only two ways you can go when your backs are against the wall," Fish said. "you can challenge your seniors, or you can challenge your better players. I challenged our seniors, and I thought Marcus was phenomenal today. He ran more team huddles, there was more communication, more interaction as a team. I just thought that he and Danny (Robison) did a great job getting this team through tough times."
Among the challenges MSU faced Saturday afternoon were slow starts by the team's top scorers. Hall scored just one bucket in the first half on 1-for-7 shooting, Colbert was 2-for-5 in the first half, and Stephan Holm didn't score. MSU shot 8-for-28 in the first half, 2-for-13 from the arc, but the team stayed alive by out-rebounding NAU 22-to-15, including nine on the offensive end.
"They played really hard," Fish said, "and it was a collective effort. When we got down by six or eight, instead of just shooting shots we dug in on defense and got stops, we talked the whole time on every possession."
The Bobcats shot 47% in the second half, led by Colbert's emergence. The senior guard shot 8-for-14, scoring 16 points, while dishing out five assists in the second half. Hall scored eight points, and Holm added six. Montana State caught fire in the overtime. The Cats hit five of their seven field goal attempts, two each by Green and Hall, to nab the win. 
"Today was the best time I've had in coaching," Fish said. "I saw our team win the right way. I saw us take a big step toward becoming the kind of team I want us to be."

Colbert led the Bobcats with 23 points, while Hall added 16. Zach Green logged his second consecituve double-double, scoring 10 points with a career-high 12 rebounds.

Montana State Sports Information

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