Troy Babbitt - USA TODAY Sports

San Jose State men's basketball preview: Montana State

Following their first win over a Division I opponent since February 2014, the 1-1 San Jose State Spartans travel to the Rockies on Friday to face their third consecutive Big Sky Conference opponent, the 1-2 Montana State Bobcats. On Monday, San Jose State beat Montana 64-61 at home.

The basics

Site: Worthington Arena (Bozeman, Mont.; capacity 7,000)

Time: 8:05 p.m. (Mountain)

TV: None

Streaming video: http://msubobcats.com/watch/?Live=193

Radio: None locally; in Montana, check the Bobcat Radio Sports Network list of statewide affiliates.

Streaming audio:  http://msubobcats.com/watch/?Live=189 or the TuneIn app, search KGHL

 

Montana State: An overview

Montana State has a second-year head coach in Brian Fish, who was previously an assistant at Oregon, Creighton, Kansas State, and Marshall among others. The Bobcats went 7-23 (4-14 Big Sky) last season.

With a 1-2 record so far, Montana State’s only win was against a Division II team. On November 14, Montana State won 90-85 against Division II Hawaii-Hilo at the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. Montana State led by as many as 15, but Hawaii-Hilo rallied to get within one point twice within the final four minutes.

The team returns three starters from last season: senior guard Marcus Colbert (5’11”, 180), sophomore guard Zach Green (6’4”, 195), and senior forward Danny Robison (6’8”, 225). Colbert was a preseason All-Big Sky selection coming into the preseason after earning the conference’s Reserve of the Year honors as a junior. Among the Bobcats’ new starters are freshman guard Tyler Hall, who has averaged 11 points and 4.3 rebounds. Shy Blake, a 6’7”, 225 center who transferred from Northeastern Junior College in Colorado, has 5.7 points and 1.3 rebounds.

Montana State has given up 85 points per game while averaging 76 on their own end. They have an overall turnover margin of -13, committing 43 turnovers vs. opponents’ 30. Montana State’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 0.72 (31:43); opponents’ is 1.57 (47:30).

What’s in it for San Jose State?

This game provides a favorable matchup for San Jose State, coming off an upset victory over a Montana team that made the last NCAA Tournament and was picked to finish atop the Big Sky. In contrast, Montana’s rival 200 miles southeast was selected to finish 11th by both the media and coaches’ polls. SJSU owns the all-time series against Montana State 7-4, most recently beating Montana State 82-74 in Bozeman on December 1, 2012. If SJSU wins, they can have their first two-game winning streak since December 18, 2013.

 


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