Two 100-Point Wins Gives MSUB Team Of The Week Honor
With an 8-4 overall record, Montana State Billings is just three short of their its win total from 2015-16.
With an 8-4 overall record, Montana State Billings is just three short of their its win total from 2015-16.

Monday, January 2, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nearly three weeks without any play couldn’t slow down a potent Montana State Billings men’s basketball offense, which scored a combined 207 points in two wins last week to earn the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

The Yellowjackets came back from their Christmas break with a convincing road victory over Simon Fraser that included a 60-point second half for a 107-66 victory. Montana State Billings then went across the border to hand No. 19 Western Washington its first GNAC loss of the season with a 100-93 victory. It was the Yellowjackets' first victory over the Vikings in Bellingham.

The Yellowjackets have now won four consecutive games and are tied for first place in the GNAC with a 3-1 record against conference opponents. It’s the second consecutive year that MSUB has beaten SFU and WWU right after the break.

"I am proud of the guys," said MSUB head coach Jamie Stevens. "They played well, but most importantly they are playing and fighting together. These guys we have don't quit at any point, and they continue to fight throughout the game."

Against Simon Fraser, five players scored at least nine points in the second half alone as MSUB made 60.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 17 from behind the 3-point line. It was the most points scored in a GNAC contest so far this season.

"Not only did we shoot the ball well, but we played very unselfishly," Stevens said after the win over SFU. "We had multiple players in double figures, and really got contributions from everybody."

Preston Beverly had game highs of 22 points and eight rebounds. Kendall Denham added a team-high 10 assists and four steals off the bench to go with 17 points. Marc Matthews scored 20 points reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Montana State Billings made 14 of 28 shots from 3-point territory against Western Washington and had a 62-point second half to beat the Vikings. The 62 points in the second half are the most points scored by any team in the GNAC this season in a second half.

Matthews recorded a team-best 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the victory and made 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc in the second half. The first of those four 3-pointers came with 10:46 left in the game to spark a 7-0 run that gave the ‘Jackets the lead for the rest of the game. His efforts in both games earned Matthews selection as the GNAC Men's Basketball Player of thr Week.

When the Vikings pulled back to within five with just over five minutes left in the game, Matthews came through again, nailing two treys on consecutive possessions. Jace Anderson took all nine of his shots from behind the 3-point line and made five of them while going 3 for 4 from the charity stripe for a total of 18 points in the victory.

The Yellowjackets now have the second longest winning streak in the conference. They will return home this week to play Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. Only Alaska Anchorage has a longer active winning streak than MSUB and the two teams will meet in Billings, Mont., on Jan. 12.