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Both Stories Courtesy ISU Sports Information
ISU MEN vs MONTANA
POCATELLO, Idaho- The Idaho State men’s basketball team played a strong first half as it shot 57 percent from the field and led 31-29 at first-place Montana at halftime but the Griz started the second-half on a 15-3 run to pull-away from the Bengals and win 70-51 at Dahlberg Arena on the campus of the University of Montana.
Idaho State is 3-6 in Big Sky Conference play while Montana improved to 9-0. Neveij Walters had a season-high 12 points to lead the Bengals in scoring while Melvin Morgan had 10 points and four assists. Nnamdi Ezenwa led Idaho State in rebounds with four. The Bengals shot 21.7 percent in the second half (5-for-23).
“I thought Neveij (Walters) played fairly well,” Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. “Our effort was good tonight and I thought we tried hard.”
Idaho State trailed early in the game 16-9 with 13:38 to play in the first half. The Bengals then went on a 12-4 run to take its first lead at 21-20 following a Hansen 3-pointer with 7:05 to play in the half.
“We were patient and Montana let us do what we wanted to do, allowing us to get some dunks,” Evans said.
ISU had first half leads of 24-23 with 5:59 to play in the first after a 3-pointer by Morgan, 26-25 and 31-27 after two free throws and a 3-pointer by Hatchett. The four-point lead, Idaho State’s largest lead, was with 1:49 left until halftime.
After halftime, Montana went on a 15-3 run in the first four minutes to lead 44-34 and never looked back. The final 19 point margin was Montana’s largest lead of the game.
“We were not good enough in the second half to get this done,” Evans said. “Montana came out with great intensity in the second half and really got after it.”
Idaho State returns to the court on Saturday, January 26, at 7 p.m. at Montana State. The game can be heard live on 102.5 KMGI and 930 KSEI.
Oakes, Horton Reach Career Milestones Against the Griz
Senior guard Kaela Oakes recorded her 1,000th career point and led ISU with 20 points Thursday
POCATELLO, Idaho – Senior guard Kaela Oakes and junior forward Cydney Horton recorded career benchmarks Thursday night against Montana as the Bengals fell to the Grizzlies 57-52. Oakes recorded her 1,000th career point as she led Idaho State with 20 points while Horton posted her 100th career block. Oakes is the 16th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark while Horton is just the sixth ISU player to reach triple digit blocks.
Oakes’ 20 points was a season high for the 5-5 guard from Chandler, Ariz. Oakes also posted four rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes of play.
“Kaela had a great game,” ISU Head Coach Seton Sobolewski said. “I felt like she did some nice things in the first half as well as down the stretch in the second half. She was really aggressive going to the basket and was able to find a way to the free throw line. She scored her 1,000th point tonight and we never thought she was going to be a scorer for us. We thought she was going to be a good ball handler and defender but she ended up being a better outside shooter than we thought. She’s meant a lot to this program.”
Horton not only recorded her 100th career block but also led the Bengals in rebounds with 11 on the night with four points, one assist, one block and a steal as well.
“Cydney has a knack for blocking the ball,” Sobolewski said. “I’m happy for her to get her 100th and being just the sixth player in ISU history to do that,” Sobolewski said.
Senior forward Ashleigh Vella also scored in double figures for ISU as the Melbourne, Australia native posted 12 in the contest with three rebounds, three assists and a block.
Overall, Idaho State shot 34.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range. Montana fared slightly better in those categories as the Grizzlies shot 38 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bengals led by as much as eight with 12:13 remaining in the first half, but Montana went on a 21-5 run to go into the locker room with a 30-22 lead.
Idaho State fired back again to start the second half and used a 9-0 run to regain the lead at the 15:58 mark. The game was a back and forth battle after that until Montana started another run with just over seven minutes left in the contest. The Griz led by as much as 10 with less than two minutes left to play in the game. The Bengals made a short run to cut that lead to five, but Montana walked away with a 57-52 win.
“You have to give credit to Montana,” Sobolewski said. “They made plays when they needed to. I thought Shanae Gilham did a great job and made a big impact for them. We struggled to score and had too many turnovers and I think that was a major contributor.”
The loss moves Idaho State to 10-8 on the season and 5-4 in conference play while Montana improves to 13-5 overall and 7-2 in the Big Sky.
Idaho State faces conference leading Montana State next as the Bengals tip-off against the Bobcats Saturday at 2 p.m. in Reed Gym. Live stats, audio and video for the contest will be available at www.isubengals.com.