Rocky Pulls Off Second Half Comeback Versus MSUB - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Rocky Pulls Off Second Half Comeback Versus MSUB

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BILLINGS, Mont. – Chad Kananen scored 23 points and lifted Rocky Mountain College out of a 10-point hole in the second half Tuesday night at the Fortin Center, as the host Battlin’ Bears defeated the Montana State University Billings men’s basketball team 78-73.

The Yellowjackets led 54-44 with 13:23 to play, but an 18-5 run over the next five minutes put the lead back into the Bears’ hands for good. Kananen scored seven points during the stretch, and hit a dagger three to make it 74-68 with 90 seconds remaining.

“This was a very frustrating night,” said MSUB head coach Jamie Stevens. “Our guys played hard, but our shooting issues have just plagued us so far this year. Credit to Rocky for playing hard and making big plays down the stretch.”

MSUB (1-2) shot just 33.8 percent from the field overall (12-for-33), and made just 5 of 29 attempts from 3-point range (17.2 percent). Preston Beverly led the ‘Jackets with 18 points, and also had eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists, and a steal in 30 minutes.

Sophomore Christian Evans racked up a 17-point, 14-rebound double-double, and Jace Anderson was also in double figures with 14 points. Anderson made four of the team’s five 3-pointers.

In addition to Kananen’s 23 points, Zach Hinton had 12 points and eight boards despite being limited to just 16 minutes due to foul trouble. Riley Bradshaw was also in double figures with 11 points.

The opening half was book-ended by lightning-quick strikes on the offensive end for MSUB. Anderson opened the game by hitting a three in MSUB’s first possession, and Beverly raced the length of the court and curled in a layup as time expired to make it 36-35 in favor of Rocky at the break.

A rebound and layup by Kamal Tall eight minutes into the game brought the score to 17-17, the fifth tie in the opening 20 minutes of play. The Bears led the rest of the first half, but the ‘Jackets kept the deficit manageable.

Two treys from the corner by Kananen at the 10-minute mark gave the Bears their largest lead of the first half, as the home team pushed ahead 26-19.

The ‘Jackets embarked on a 6-0 run however, which was capitalized by a put-back dunk from Beverly with 7:07 to play. The Bears meanwhile endured a four-minute dry spell, going 0-for-3 and committing four turnovers into the final part of the half.

Grant Wallace made back-to-back shots to nudge the Bears back in front by five points, but the ‘Jackets made all six of their foul shots to stay within one point as they headed to the locker room.

Anderson opened the second half with another three, and an ensuing 13-0 run swung momentum into MSUB’s favor. By the 11:42 mark the Yellowjackets had built their largest lead of the game at 54-44, but Hinton hit a short jumper to finally end the Bears’ scoring slump.

Bradshaw hit another three for the Bears, and Craig Wilmore capped a 7-0 run with a jumper that gave the lead back to Rocky at 60-59 with eight minutes to play. MSUB kept the game within two possessions down the stretch, but failed to stop the Bears and get back into the game.

The ‘Jackets out-rebounded the Bears 38-37, and committed 12 turnovers while RMC had 13. Tall finished with eight points and eight rebounds for the ‘Jackets,