BOZEMAN – Montana State rallied from a 15-point deficit to score a 70-68 victory in overtime over the Eastern Washington Eagles in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game on Saturday night.
Four Eagles scored at least nine points, as the Eagles led by as many as 15 in the second half. Eastern missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation and two potential game-tying shots at the end of overtime.
“I’m very, very proud of our team,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “We played really, really well in the first half and second half. We were trading baskets in the second half and we needed some stops to stop the bleeding.
“We were in a position there in the last minute and couldn’t get it done in our last two possessions.”
“It was a really good game – but there has to be a winner and a loser,” he added. “Our team played really, really well, and I hurt for them that they can’t take a road win home with them.”
Although the Eagles had five more field goals – and six more 3-point goals – Eastern was out-scored 24-6 at the free-throw line.
Eastern missed nine of its last 10 shots in regulation – including a string of eight consecutive misses – and was just 2 of 9 in overtime. Before that, Eastern was shooting at a 59 percent clip before finishing at 45 percent.
The Eagles also had 20 turnovers compared to just eight for the Bobcats (5-7, 2-2), as MSU had a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We had some good looks but didn’t make them,” Hayford said. “At the end of the day, they had 15 more possessions than we did. We knew they forced a lot of turnovers and we had some players who had some tough ones. We just need to attack the basket a little harder and we will get some more free throws.”
Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes led the Eagles (3-11, 1-3) with a season-high 18 points with four 3-pointers. Senior point guard Kevin Winford had 13 points and six assists before fouling out late in the game.
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