BOZEMAN — The Montana State Bobcats used a hot start in the second half to race past rival Montana, 66-59, on Sunday evening at Worthington Arena in Bozeman.
Leading 36-33 at halftime, the Bobcats (12-5, 4-2 Big Sky Conference) used a 14-3 run to open the second frame capped by a layup from Amin Adamu at the 14:21 mark of the second half to take a 50-37 lead. From there, the Grizzlies (11-6, 4-2) tried to claw their way back into the game on the back of guard Cameron Parker, but MSU's lead was too much to overcome as the Bobcats held on down the stretch.
The Bobcats snapped a six-game losing streak to the Grizzlies with the win, their last victory in the rivalry coming back on Feb. 25, 2017 in Bozeman. Montana came into the game having won 19 of the last 20 contests between the two rivals. These two teams did not play last year after their two scheduled games were canceled due to COVID-19.
The Grizzlies got back as close as three after Parker hit a 3-pointer to make it 56-53 with 4:34 left in the game. But Xavier Bishop responded with a 3-point play on the other end to halt any UM momentum as both teams struggled to score in the final minutes.
Jubrile Belo's dunk with 53 seconds left made it 61-55 and the Bobcats used free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The Grizzlies started the first half with a 9-3 lead and utilized a 6 to 2 advantage on the offensive glass to maintain a lead for most of the first half. After the teams went back-and-forth with ties, MSU took the lead for good when Great Osobor scored to make it 31-29 with 3:01 left in the first frame.
Adamu led all scorers with 19 points as four Bobcats scored in double figures. Adamu finished 7 for 13 from the field and 3 for 4 from deep and scored 13 of his points in the first half while Bishop added 11 points and Belo and Abdul Mohamed each added 10 points. Belo finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds as well. The Bobcats finished the game shooting the ball 51.1% from the field and 6 for 12 from 3-point range and 14 for 19 from the free throw line.
Parker led UM with 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Robby Beasley III added 15 points and Josh Bannan finished a double-double for the Grizzlies with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 39.6% from the field and 4 for 15 from deep and 13 for 16 from the charity stripe. The Grizzlies out-rebounded MSU 31-30 while both teams turned the ball over 11 times each.
This story will be updated with full highlights.