SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Behind a career-high 32 points from RaeQuan Battle and clutch free-throw shooting, the Montana State men’s basketball team handed Sacramento State its first home loss of the season in a 72-65 game on Saturday.
The Bobcats (15-8, 8-2 Big Sky Conference) led by as many as 17 points and withstood a late run by the Hornets (12-10, 5-4 Big Sky), yet Battle scored 10 of his points in the final four minutes while Montana State finished 9-for-10 from the charity stripe in that span. Sacramento State went into Saturday’s game with a perfect 8-0 record at home — the third time in program history the Hornets have won their first eight home games.
“We made tremendous plays at the end of the game,” Montana State Head Coach Danny Sprinkle told Bobcat Sports Radio Network. “RaeQuan was awesome offensively, Sam Lecholat played some huge minutes for us and I thought Jubrile Belo and Great Osobor were tremendous playing against [Sacramento State center] Callum McRae.”
“Sacramento State is so well-coached and so tough,” Sprinkle added. “David Patrick has done a tremendous job. They play very similarly to us — a lot of things they ran and the way they play reminded me a lot of our team.”
Montana State’s defense forced 15 turnovers — 10 of which came in the first half — and made 85.7% of its free throws compared to Sacramento State’s 81.3%. In a game that featured mostly interior scoring, MSU went 4-for-8 from three and overcame the Hornets winning the battle of the boards by a 29-25 margin. Individually, Battle went 12-for-12 from the free throw line, breaking the single-game program records for most free throw attempts without a miss. Great Osobor was the only other Bobcat in double-figures with 13 points, while Darius Brown II added six points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Zach Chappell led the Hornets with 19 points and Callum McRae added 15 points and nine rebounds. Cameron Wilbon rounded out Sacramento State’s double-figure scorers with 10 points.
Saturday night wrapped up the longest road swing for the Bobcats, who only have three more road games remaining in conference play.
“I’m really proud of our maturity — especially after our win at Montana and going on the road,” Sprinkle said. “Travel in this league is not easy, and to go out with the energy like we did was awesome.”
The Bobcats return home to play Northern Arizona on Feb. 2, followed by a Feb. 4 showdown with Northern Colorado. Both games will be live-streamed on ESPN+, yet Saturday’s game against the Bears will also be televised on SWX Sports. All live stream and live stat links can be found on the men’s basketball schedule page on msubobcats.com.
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