Montana State men’s basketball beats Southern Utah on the road

(Editor’s note: Montana State athletics release)

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Montana State scored the game’s first 10 points and never looked back, rolling up a 92-62 win at Southern Utah to open Big Sky Conference play.

Fish liked his team’s effort from the opening possession. “We got off to a good start because we were doing things we need to do to be successful,” he said after winning his second straight Big Sky opener. “We missed a shot (on MSU’s first possession), but DK (Devin Kirby) got an offensive board and kicked it out to Ladan (Ricketts), and he knocked down a three.”

That 3-0 lead turned into a 5-0 advantage after a layup by Tyler Hall, then 7-0 after Kirby’s dunk, and finally Hall nailed a three-pointer to push the MSU cushion to 10-0. After a Jacob Caolloway three-pointer got the Thunderbirds on the board the Bobcats took control of the game with nine straight points.

Fish cited crisp passing as a key to Montana State’s offensive production, which led to the team’s third 80-point scoring game in the last four outings. “I really thought the key today was ball movement,” Fish said. “I know we’re a better shooting team than we showed (in the non-conference season), and when I watched film over Christmas I noticed that at times the ball just doesn’t move. I thought they really did a good job of that today, and that resulted in us getting good shots.”

Montana State didn’t turn the ball over in the first half while benefitting from eight SUU giveaways. MSU limited Southern Utah to 38 percent shooting, shooting 53 percent themselves. Those factors combined to produce a 46-30 halftime lead.

The second half provided much of the same. The Thunderbirds closed to within 13 on two occasions Montana State finished on a 24-7 run to push the final margin to 30 points, the largest by a Brian Fish-coached team in a Big Sky road win.

Tyler Hall led five Bobcats in double-digits, logging 18 points. Ladan Ricketts scored 15, Harald Frey 11 and Quentin Guliford 10. Devin Kirby scored 13 points and grabbed a dozen boards for his second double-double. Southern Utah, playing without top scorer Dwayne Morgan, was led by Calloway’s 18 points. Cameron Oluyitan added 14.

The Bobcats raise their record to 4-7 overall, and carry a 1-0 league mark into Monday’s 12 noon matinee at Northern Arizona. Southern Utah hosts Montana on Monday.

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