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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Centrum Arena (5,300) -- Cedar City, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 6-2, SUU 1-5. Away Record: MSU 3-6, SUU 0-12. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, SUU 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 4-4, SUU 0-9. Series Record: Montana State leads, 11-3.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Utah Thunderbirds will try to put an end to their 17- game losing streak on Saturday when they host the Montana State Bobcats at Centrum Arena for a Big Sky Conference tilt.
Montana State has lost its last three games to fall one game below the .500 mark. The Bobcats were defeated, 69-64, last weekend at Idaho State. The loss to the Bengals dropped them to a 4-4 league record, which began with three consecutive victories. Coach Brad Huse's team was outscored, 25-10, at the free-throw line and finished with seven less total rebounds than ISU in its last appearance. MSU is ranked second to last in Big Sky play in points per game at 68.6 ppg.
The only school with a lower scoring offense average in conference play is Southern Utah, which has posted a mere 57 ppg in its nine Big Sky losses. While the Thunderbirds have lost every game since their season-opener, they have managed to keep the final margin on the scoreboard in single-digits in four consecutive games. Coach Nick Robinson's squad dropped a 69-61 decision at home to Montana on Thursday after it was limited to 2-of-8 efficiency from behind the 3-point line in the contest. SUU has been outscored by an average of 15.7 ppg in league play.
This will be the 15th meeting in history between these programs on the hardwood. MSU owns a 11-4 all-time record versus SUU after its sweep of the Thunderbirds in the 2012-13 season's home-and-home series.
In their loss to ISU, the Bobcats were led by Marcus Colbert who tallied 23 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out five assists. Calen Coleman added 13 points with the help of a 4-of-9 showing from 3-point range while Flavien Davis scored 10 points and came up one board shy of a double-double. Davis is MSU's leading scorer on the campaign at 11.4 ppg. Senior big man Paul Egwuonwu had reached double figures in the scoring column in six-straight games before being held to four by the Bengals. The 6-foot-9 center is second on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg) and MSU's top rebounder with 7.2 rpg.
SUU struggled with its perimeter shooting against Montana, but still managed to finish shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 81 percent at the charity stripe. The Thunderbirds received a boost from their reserves, who outscored the Grizzlies' bench by a 16-4 margin. Trey Kennedy paced the team with 17 points and five assists, but he was also charged with six turnovers. Before fouling out, Casey Oliverson contributed 14 points and seven boards. Kennedy has been stepping up his play of late, with double-digit scoring outings in four of his last five games along with five or more assists in three consecutive appearances. The rookie guard is scoring a team-high 11.7 ppg, but has received very little help on a consistent basis.
The Thunderbirds are clearly not going to be a contender to win the Big Sky Conference this season, but their effort has only increased with time. This could be a trap game for the Bobcats if they fail to match SUU's intensity from start to finish.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Utah 67, Montana State 62
02/01 10:14:45 ET
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