Darius Brown II ties record in Montana State men’s loss to Middle Tennessee State | Montana State Bobcats

MONTREAL — The Montana State men’s basketball team has fully rebounded from a seven-point deficit and had a one-point lead with less than a minute left, but the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders walked away with a 72-71 win Northern Classic final on Sunday afternoon.

The Blue Raiders (5-2) led by seven points with 3 minutes and 13 seconds left. MSU (3-5) stormed back with a three-point play from Patrick McMahon and nine points from RaeQuan Battle. After a 71-69 lead, three points from the Blue Raiders’ Elias King put MSU down 72-71 with 13 seconds left. Jubrile Belo had a chance for a game-winning layup on the final possession, but his try through heavy contact was not good after the time was up.

“We got the ball right where we wanted it,” Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle told Bobcat Sports Radio Network. “I think everyone who watched the game knew exactly what happened after that.”

Battle led by 24 points in 8-for-13 shooting and added four steals as a team high. Belo added 16 points and four rebounds for his third double-figure game in the Northern Classic, while Darius Brown II had two points and dished out a career-high 16 assists, also breaking the program record for most assists in a single game.

“Darius did a great job getting the ball to Jubrile and he had great passes to our shooters,” Sprinkle said. “I thought he was controlling the game even though Middle Tennessee State chased him all game. MTSU is really athletic and long and I’m proud of how Darius played against them.”

In a fast-paced, physical game, the Bobcats beat the Blue Raiders in all three stages, closing with 56.5% from the field, 35.7% (5 on 14) from 3-point range and 87.5% (14th – 14th). -for-16) from the free throw line. But 23 turnovers hurt the Bobcats against MTSU’s fast, athletic defense.

MSU’s 24:19 lead with 5:53 in the first round would be the biggest of the game. Jared Coleman-Jones rattled off four unanswered points that led to a 9-0 MTSU run. The Blue Raiders went into the dressing room with a 33-32 advantage.

Battle came out of the locker room, fired from all guns and scored the Bobcats’ first nine points at halftime. Montana State took a 50-46 lead with 12:55 to go – the biggest lead of the half – after a layup by Caleb Fuller.

Back-to-back turnovers led the Blue Raiders 62-56, and the Bobcats went nearly two minutes without a field goal. Battle hit a deep 3-pointer down the right wing to reduce the deficit to one. The Blue Raiders shared two free throws at the other end, then Battle made contact with an NBA Range 3 and pocketed all three free throws to give MSU a one-point lead. A corner 3 right in front of the MSU bench gave the Bobcats a 71-69 advantage, but the Bobcats couldn’t hold on to the win.

“It was a really physical game and I’m really proud of how our boys fought,” Sprinkle said. “We played hard. We told them before the game that we want them to play hard no matter what.”

The Bobcats return to the States Wednesday at 7 p.m. to play former Big Sky foes Southern Utah. MSU’s next home game is on Thursday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. against St. Thomas

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