GRAND FORKS, North Dakota — Tyler Hall’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer fell off the mark, and North Dakota registered a 75-74 win over Montana State Thursday night in Big Sky Conference men's basketball.
The finish capped a game of wild back-and-forths, with MSU scoring nine points in the game’s final 110 seconds to give the team a chance for a road win. Harald Frey led all players with 21 points for MSU, and scored six of those nine in the closing flurry.
“We did a lot of good things,” Bobcat coach Brian Fish said, “but we were nicked by that old bug of not being able to knock down (three-point) shots. We got to the line 30 times, we dominated the boards, but we were 4-for-23 (on three-pointers), they just weren’t going down.”
As they did last week against Southern Utah, the Bobcats opened the second half with a flourish. The Cats scored on the first seven possessions of the second stanza to turn a 38-33 deficit into a 47-40 lead. MSU shot 42 percent in the second half, and hit three of its four 3-pointers after the intermission.
After playing from behind most of the first half, the Cats played from in front for much of the second. The Fighting Hawks recaptured the lead just in front of the eight minute mark, though, and when Dale Jones hit a three-pointer with 6:51 to play North Dakota had built a 62-58 lead.
The Cats battled back. Tyler Hall’s two free throws at 5:34 pushed MSU into the lead at 65-64, but a three-and-a-half minute MSU dry spell coincided with a run of five straight North Dakota possessions that resulted in points. When Geno Crandall hit a pair of free throws with 1:28 to play, Fighting Hawks led 75-68.
The loss drops Montana State to 12-11 on the season, 5-5 in Big Sky play. North Dakota is 8-14 overall, 3-7 in conference play.
The Cats face Northern Colorado on Saturday in Greeley, Colorado.