Call it the Battle in Bozeman on Saturday.
Granted, such a reference doesn't have the cachet of say, The Thrilla in Manilla, but it's conference prestige on the line. Plus, the Bobcats want to defend their homecourt from an out-of-league trespasser.
Montana State is currently 13-12 overall, 7-6 in conference play and, maybe most importantly, 8-3 in home games.
Common Opponents This Season
11/14/09 at Nevada 61-75 L
11/25/09 at San Francisco W 70-66
12/4/09 Northern Colorado W 87-63
2/23/09 at Boise State 56-58 L
The Bobcat Starting Lineup
Four starters return from last season
6-foot-9 Branden Johnson: Owning 10.2 ppg. and 5.5 rpg. stats respectively, the anomaly is that he is the top three-point shot taker on the team (36%) as 124 of his 196 shot attempts have come from beyond the stripe -- he was the top student-athlete on the squad last season
6-foot-7 Bobby Howard: The leading scorer at 14.1 ppg. and second on the team in rebounding with 5.4 a contest, he shoots 52% from the floor, 33% from long range but just 56% at the foul line
6-foot-5 Erik Rush: A graduate of Milpitas High, Rush is at 11.3 and 4.3 respectively, 44% overall in shooting, 35% from three-point land
6-foot-3 Will Bynum: He is the co-leader in assists, tops in steals and averaging 8.4 ppg. but his shooting is the weakest among the starters -- 38% on the season and 22% on one three-point attempt per game -- he was the team co-defensive MVP last season
6-foot-1 Marquis Navarre: He is tied for first in assists but also has sharp shooting numbers -- 11.3 ppg. on 49% shooting and a very good 44% on his trey attempts
Every starter averages 30+ minutes per game of playing time
6-foot-6 Danny Piepoli: 47% shooting , 42% on his threes (82 of his 119 shots have been trey attempts) and 83% at the foul line
6-foot-4 Austin Brown: His shooting numbers aren't strong at 37%, 29% and 48% respectively but he is tied for the team lead in blocked shots with 19
6-10 Cody Anderson: With the body of a bruiser, he remarkably has attempted a three-pointer a game
5-11 Bryan Louff: The backup at the point, he is shooting 28% on the season but 5-10 from three-point range
The Montana State Roster, by position
Will Bynum G 6-3 180 Sr.
Colt Idol G 6-3 200 Fr.
Marquis Navarre G 5-11 165 Sr.
Bryan Louff G 5-11 175 So.
Erik Rush G 6-5 210 Jr
Austin Brown F 6-4 205 So.
Jeff Budinich F 6-9 225 Fr.
Steven Davis F 6-7 225 Fr.
Cameron Henderson F 6-7 235 Sr.
Bobby Howard F 6-7 225 Jr.
Branden Johnson F 6-9 230
Danny Piepoli F 6-6 200 Jr.
Cody Anderson C 6-10 270 So.
Michel Swita C 7-0 Jr.
What To Expect
- Montana State averages 20 three-point attempts per game to 15 for SJSU -- what will these totals be on Saturday night?
- The Bobcats have committed 52 less turnovers than its collective opponents, as have the Spartans
- Averaging 68.3 points per game, Montana trails by six points or so behind San Jose State's averageFollow Inside Sparta on Twitter and Facebook
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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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