Idaho State (7-14) at Montana State (11-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 2nd, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho State 5-5, Montana State 6-3. Away Record: Idaho State 2-9, Montana State 5-6. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-0, Montana State 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho State 5-4, Montana State 6-3. Series Record: Montana State leads, 101-79.
GAMES NOTES: Idaho State will try to keep the momentum of its upset win over Weber State going when the Bengals travel to Worthington Arena for a Big Sky tilt with the Montana State Bobcats.
This will be the 181st meeting in this long rivalry. Montana State leads the series at 101-79 including a 73-69 victory in early January. The Bobcats split the season series last year with both home teams winning.
Idaho State's win over Weber State gives the Bengals their longest winning streak of the season at three games. Idaho State is now 5-4 in Big Sky action which gives it sole possession of fourth place in the conference. The Bengals will play another road game in the Treasure State when they face Montana on Monday.
Montana State had a season long four-game winning streak put to an end with a 69-52 loss on the road to Eastern Washington. The Bobcats are now 6-3 in the Big Sky which is good for third behind Montana and Weber State. Montana State will face in-state rival Montana next time out.
Although Idaho State shot worse than Weber State in the team's win over the Wildcats, the Bengals managed to pull out the win by outscoring the Wildcats 30-18 from beyond the arc. The most important three pointer was the one senior guard Kenny McGowan nailed at the buzzer giving the Bengals the walk-off victory.
Idaho State is now putting in 65.3 points per game while netting 42.5 percent of its attempts from the field which are both seventh in the conference. The leading scorer for the team is senior guard Chase Grabau who nets 13.3 points per game and is also an extremely efficient scorer shooting 54.2 percent from the floor which is the fifth best mark in the conference. Grabeau has scored in double figures in five straight games. Grabeau is also a solid rebounder (5.1 rpg) although it is senior forward Abner Moreira who leads the team at 7.1 per game. Grabeau further contributes by leading the team in the passing game collecting 3.7 assists per contests. McGowan is another solid scorer for the Bengals netting 12.2 points per game including a game-high 19 in the win over Weber State. Junior guard Melvin Morgan (11.8 ppg) is the third scorer averaging in double figures for Idaho State.
Montana State shot very poorly in the loss to Eastern Washington converting only 30.8 percent of its shots from the floor and was also sloppy in terms of ball control turning the ball over 20 times.
The 52 points that Montana State managed in the loss to Eastern Washington was the lowest total the Bobcats have scored since suffering a 63-49 loss to Weber State on January 12th. Montana State is now scoring 71.5 points per game while allowing 71.0 for a slim +0.5 scoring differential. Sophomore forward Shawn Reid was the only player to score in double figures for the Bobcats putting in 10 in the loss. Junior guard Xavier Blount is the teams normal leading scorer putting in 11.9 points per game. Blount was held to eight points in the loss which ended a season long four-game streak in double digits. Christian Moon, also a junior guard, is the teams only other player to average in double digits putting in 10.9 per game. Sophomore forward Tre Johnson is the team's leading rebounder bringing down 6.6 per game.
Although Idaho State just took down the conference's best team the Bengals have been too inconsistent all season. Idaho State is just 2-9 on the road this season and isn't likely to pull out a win in Bozeman.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana State 65 Idaho State 60
02/02 10:34:29 ET