Montana State has a strong group of basketball players, a few of which have already played in NCAA Tournaments. These include senior Desi Sills (Arkansas), sophomore Jerrell Colbert and true freshman Taj Manning.
Junior RaeQuan Battle leads the Bobcats in scoring with 17.4 points per game. He also ranks second in the BSC in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.7 percent.
A four-star recruit, Battle led Marysville-Pilchuck to a district title and was the WIAA Class AA State Tournament champion. He finished his prep career with 1,667 points.
The 6-foot-5 guard is a big part of Montana State’s success. He is second in the Big Sky and 57th in the country with 18.4 points per game.
He is also among the best in the country in free throws made and attempted. He has scored 20-plus points in five games this season.
His dunk off a lob from Darius Brown II in the second overtime lifted Montana State to a 60-58 victory over Weber State last week.
He is expected to make a big impact in the Bobcats’ game against Kansas State on Friday night. They are a huge 8-point favorite according to the latest college basketball odds.
Belo, a 6-foot-9 center from Britain, was one of MSU’s first-year players to take the court and quickly become a leader in the Bobcats’ offense. His performance against Utah State in his season opener was a strong foundation to build from, as Belo logged 12 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
The senior has been a key contributor for MSU this year, averaging 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He is a great rebounder who has the ability to score inside and out and is also effective on the defensive glass.
He also leads the team in blocked shots with 1.7 blocks per game and ranks fourth in free throw attempts. He is one of two players on the team who can guard both the post and the perimeter, which makes him an ideal fit for coach Danny Sprinkle’s defense.
The Griz aren’t a high-powered offense, but they do have some good talent on the court, led by junior RaeQuan Battle and senior Jubrile Belo. They are a solid defensive team that does a good job of guarding the paint, and they control their opponents’ offensive rebounds fairly well. They force turnovers on 20.1% of their opponents’ possessions, which could be a problem for a K-State team that doesn’t enjoy committing turnovers.
Senior forward Maizen Fausett recorded his 1,000th career point as a T-Bird. He was also a force on the defensive end, holding Harald Frey to 14 points and 3-11 shooting in nearly 40 minutes of action.
While the Thunderbirds were able to take an early lead in Saturday’s game against Montana State, their offense struggled throughout most of the night. Their three-point shooting percentage was a poor 3-22, but they did have a strong night on the glass.
After a turnover by Frey led to an and-one finish by Fausett, the T-Birds took control. They had a 12-point lead with 7:25 remaining before the Bobcats tied the game at 41.
It was a back-and-forth affair that saw 20 lead changes. Southern Utah won the first half and held MSU to 30 percent shooting in the second.
The T-Birds’ defense played a key role in their win against MSU, but they still need to improve their offensive performance. Coach Todd Simon pointed out that the T-Birds have had a hard time scoring consistently throughout most of the season.
A native of Toowoomba, Queensland, Jason Spurgin has had a storied career. He was a two-time state championship runner-up and has been a consistent force for his college, club and professional teams. His acrobatics and tenacious defense have earned him numerous accolades.
In a game that was filled with big moments, the Montana State Bobcats outlasted the Southern Utah T-Birds 76-71 to claim the Big Sky Conference regular-season title. A star-studded lineup paced the performance, with RaeQuan Battle scoring a team-high 17 points and Jubrile Belo posting 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were led by sophomore center Jason Spurgin who scored a league-high 18 points to go with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Drake Allen put up a solid 13 points to round out the top-ten in SUU’s win.
The Montana State men’s basketball program has a 4-3-0 record, which isn’t bad for a team that features just four starters. Among the T-Birds’ most impressive feats is their ode to the old school: They have won nine of their last ten games against their rivals. The Big Sky Conference has awarded their most prestigious accolades to the top performers in the 2021-22 campaign, and head coach Danny Sprinkle and junior Jubrile Belo were both recognized for their efforts.
Allen led the Thunderbirds with 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and added nine rebounds and three assists. He also scored a highlight-reel dunk.
Four Thunderbirds average double-figure scoring with Tevian Jones leading the way at 17.8 points a game, followed by Maizen Fausett (12.5), Harrison Butler (11.1) and Jason Spurgin (9.7). Spurgin has tallied 48 blocks this season and tied Kenyatta Clyde’s record for the fifth-most in school history.
The Bobcats are 71st in scoring defense on the year, allowing 66.6 points per game while ranking 119th in offense at 74.2 points per game. Montana State has fewer turnovers this season, committing 11.4 per game and forcing 13.2 per game.
A big offensive night from Allen gave the Thunderbirds a strong start in the first half, leading them to an early 18-12 lead. He converted a pair of back-to-back triples to put the Thunderbirds ahead 17-11 with 12:48 on the clock.
A solid all around effort from the 6-3 forward helped his team to a 13-10 overall record and an 8-6 Big Sky mark. London was a force in the paint as well as on the glass and is an excellent distributor of the ball. The 6’5″ senior is also a strong defender with a keen sense of speed and a great attitude.
The Bobcats have the best defensive record in the conference, allowing a mere 43.5 points per game and holding opponents to just 38.3 percent shooting from the field. Despite that, the Bobcats are still looking for their first win of the season after a grueling five-game road trip that included losses to Idaho State and Southern Utah.
The Bobcats have a strong recruiting class and are poised for a big year, with several of their top prospects on the cusp of being named. They have one of the best coaching staffs in the nation and are expected to finish with a double-digit winning record in the Big Sky for the third straight season.
Montana State junior forward Harrison Butler has shown a lot of promise this season. He is averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and has made a big impact on the Bobcats’ success.
He is a great defensive player who can also shoot the three-pointer and has good range. He is a very strong rebounder and is a good leader.
Butler was one of the key players in SUU’s win over Cal State Fullerton last Saturday, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He is a talented player who will improve as the season progresses.
The Bobcats trailed SUU by as many as two points with 11:46 left in the first half but took control with an 8-0 run in the final six minutes of the first period. SUU led at the break 42-32.
After halftime, the Bobcats fought back to make it a game, but Xavier Bishop hit a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper to send it into overtime. SUU led by as much as three in the extra period, but a few missed free throws gave Montana State the lead for good.