ANOTHER CLOSE LOSS FOR MENâ€™S BASKETBALL, THIS TIME AT MONTANA STATE
True freshman Dylan Garrity posted a season-high 18 points while playing all 40 minutes in tonight's game
BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Montana State converted all six of its free throws during the last 23 seconds, and the Bobcats withstood a late Sacramento State rally on the way to a 72-65 win over the Hornets in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at Worthington Arena.
A three-pointer from Hornet freshman point guard Dylan Garrity capped a 17-8 rally that spanned eight minutes of game clock and drew Sacramento State within, 66-63, with 2:34 to play. The Hornets had an opportunity to get even closer after getting the ball back with 1:01 left. However, an offensive foul was called off the ball on Sacramento State’s Joe Eberhard with 38 seconds to play which effectively ruined any chance the team had of getting closer.
The Hornets were forced to foul on Montana State’s next possession, and Rod Singleton made both freebies to put MSU up, 68-63, with 23 seconds remaining. The Bobcats’ Tre Johnson would later convert a pair of free throws at the 15-second, and six-second marks sandwiched around a Jackson Carbajal layup to provide the final score.
In a game that saw Sacramento State trail by seven points or less the final nine minutes, the Hornets continued to have trouble in close games. Sacramento State (5-12, 0-6) has now dropped seven straight games, but six of those losses have come by single digits. In fact, the Hornets have had opportunities late in all six conference games to do some damage, but have not been able to convert in the end. Usually a team that sits seven games below the .500 mark has been badly outscored, but Sacramento State is being outscored by just 2.0 points per game this season.
The Hornets, who are 0-5 in games decided by five points or less and 1-8 in games decided by single digits, took their only lead of the game at 13-11 early in the first half on a dunk by Josh McCarver. Montana State immediately answered with a three-pointer at the 13:01 mark of the first half and never trailed the rest of the way. That included opening up a game-high 16-point lead early in the second half before the Hornets began chipping away at the lead.
Sacramento State, which has now lost by seven, one, five and eight points, respectively, over its last four games, returns to action on Saturday in Missoula when the team squares off with Montana. With the victory, Montana State won for the fourth time in five games while improving to 9-8 overall and 4-2 in the conference.
The Hornets shot well from the field (.473, 26-for-55) and the free throw line (.714, 10-for-14), but were outrebounded by Montana State, 35-33, including the Bobcats owning a 10-3 advantage in second-chance points. Sacramento State has yet to win a game (0-6) when losing the rebounding battle. Montana State shot 42.6 percent (26-61) from the floor, and converted on two more three-pointers than the Hornets (5-3) and five more free three throws (15-10).
Garrity was impressive all evening for the Hornets, as the true freshman finished with a game-high 18 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and three steals while playing all 40 minutes. The points, rebounds, steals and minutes either set or matched season bests for the point guard. Garrity scored 12 of his 18 points after halftime to spark Sacramento State to a 37-32 edge over Montana State in the second half.
Senior Heath Hoffman joined Garrity in double figures as the swingman scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. McCarver added nine points, two blocks and six rebounds, and Eberhard had eight points and five rebounds in 37 minutes. The team’s leading scorer, junior forward John Dickson, was limited to just five points on 2-of-9 shooting. It matched his lowest point total of the year, and snapped a string of six straight games in which he had scored in double figures.
Four Montana State players scored in double figures, comprised of Xavier Blount (14 points), Johnson (14 points, 10 rebounds), Mohammed Fall (10 points, seven rebounds) and Christian Moon (10 points).
The two teams combined to turn the ball over just 25 times, with the Bobcats committing 11 of those miscues.