Montana State Men's Basketball Take Down Idaho at Home - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Montana State Men's Basketball Take Down Idaho at Home

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The halftime adjustments were simple. The results were spectacular.
 
"I think we were more aggressive offensively," said Montana State's senior guard after he scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead Montana State to a 70-68 win over Idaho on Saturday afternoon. The win gave the Bobcats a weekend sweep of the Vandals and Eastern Washington, who MSU topped on Thursday.
 
Colbert said better ball movement led to MSU's comeback. Idaho led by 13 points with 18:40 to play. "They play that pack-zone type defense and they got us shooting a lot of jumpers in the first half," he said, "but it was not really inside out. In the second half a couple guys hit some shots and then we got going. That's how it goes sometimes."
 
The Bobcats rode improved offensive execution to 53% shooting in the second half after hitting just 28% of its shots in the opening stanza, the team's worst-shooting first half of the season. Bobcat coach Brian Fish painted a picture of even clearer locker room instructions. "I told them to start making (shots)," he said. "I said, Guys, we're going to shoot 'em, let's make 'em. And they did."
 
Whatever happened at halftime, it seeped into every element of MSU's game. The Bobcats turned the ball over nine times and were -2 in rebound margin in the first half. In the second, the Cats turned the ball over only once and fought the league's best rebounding team on even terms.
 
That set the stage for MSU's dramatics. Trailing 38-25 on a Chad Sherwood three-pointer MSU's Zach Green answered with a triple, then converted a turnover into a layup. Colbert hit a jumper to bring MSU within 38-32 at the 16:37 mark, and Stephn Holm's layup cut the Idaho lead to four.
 
After layups by Chris Sarbaugh and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan, MSU's surge continued. Colbert two three-pointers, then converted two layups. Idaho had no answer for the Bobcat senior that grew up less than 100 miles from its campus, and MSU's other offensive leader, Tyler Hall, watched in wonder.
 
"It's fun to watch when he gets going," said Hall, who scored 10 points in the second half to finish with 16. "A lot of time he picks us up when we're down and gives us a lot of energy. He's a great leader out there."
 
Count Fish among those who marvel at Colbert's offensive brilliance. "He's just so tough, he's so hard-nosed," MSU's second-year coach said. "He figures out a way to get through his limitations. He's just fun to coach."
 
Staked to the lead when Hall hit a triple at 9:50, the Cats never relented. Hall hit another 35 seconds later, the Sarp Gobeloglu did the same to push MSU's lead to nine. The Vandals responded, shopping the lead to two on a Ty Egbert jumper, but Colbert hit a three-pointer. Then he answered an Egbert layup with one of his own. The Vandals never again had a possession to tie.
 
Possibly the Big Sky's most dynamic and complete offensive player, Colbert was unquestionably the difference in the game. He scored 23 points for the second consecutive game, and in eight Big Sky contests has been over 20 four times. He also leads the conference in assists, and dished out another four on Saturday. On the weekend, Montana State made 56 baskets. Colbert scored (18) or assisted on (12) more than half of them while turning the ball over only four times in 72 minutes.
 
Hall chipped in 16 more points on Saturday, while Zach Green (10 points) and Quinton Everett (11)  continued their stealthy play. The two combined for 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
 
Playing without starting guards Victor Sanders and Perrion Callendret, the Vandals were "playing with an arm tied behind their backs," Fish said. Yet freshman guard Nick Blair (16 points) and junior center Ty Egbert (18) each posted career scoring highs.
 
Fish was pleased with the victory. "They're a tough, hard-nosed, well-coached team and I've got a ton of respect for them. I'm just glad we found a way."
 
Montana State raises its record to 9-11 overall, 4-4 in Big Sky play. The Vandals are 12-8, 4-3. The Bobcats host Montana next Saturday at 7 pm in Worthington Arena.

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