Central Washington Snaps MSUB Men's Winning Streak - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Central Washington Snaps MSUB Men's Winning Streak

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A season-high 21 points by Montana State University Billings men’s basketball freshman Cinco Durr were overshadowed by a season-high 23 by Central Washington University’s Jawan Stepney, as the visiting Wildcats handed the Yellowjackets an 81-77 loss Thursday night in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action at Alterowitz Gym.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for MSUB, which entered the evening in a three-way tie for first place in the GNAC. The ‘Jackets are now 8-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play, while CWU moves to 9-3 overall and 4-2 in the GNAC.

“That is a very good team we played, and we just didn’t have the same kind of edge that we had last week on the road,” said MSUB head coach Jamie Stevens. “We got out-rebounded, they made more free throws, and we had 18 turnovers. We got beat by the better team tonight.”

Durr hit 8 of 15 shots from the floor including three 3-pointers, and also had a pair of assists, two rebounds, and a steal for the ‘Jackets. The team shot 43.9 percent overall (29-for-66), but the Wildcats connected at a clip of 53.4 percent (31-for-58) and out-rebounded MSUB 37-31.

“Cinco did a nice job especially in the first half, and he really helped keep us in it,” Stevens commented on the true freshman. “He had some good takes and did some really good things.”

Preston Beverly finished with 16 points – despite being limited to just two in the first half – and seven rebounds, and senior Marc Matthews also reached double figures with 15 points while hauling in five boards.

The ‘Cats built an early lead after a three from Cameron Burton made it 22-16.

Matthews returned the advantage to MSUB with a three from the wing three minutes later, after a pair of offensive rebounds by the ‘Jackets created extra possessions. The big shot from the senior capped off a 7-0 run by the ‘Jackets, and the home team held the lead for the remainder of the first half.

MSUB peaked offensively in the final two minutes of the first, and took a 40-34 edge into the locker room.

The ‘Cats came out of the break and wore into the Yellowjackets’ lead, rallying to tie the score at 50-50 on a layup by Stepney. Beverly put together a string of stellar plays to help keep the game tied, leaping up to deny a shot by Fuquan Niles, grabbing the rebound, and flipping a behind-the-head pass to Kamal Tall for a layup on the other end.

The turning point in the game came over the next three minutes however, as the Wildcats embarked on a 10-0 run during which MSUB went 0-for-8 from the field. The ‘Jackets never led again, but got as close as 76-72 on a layup by Durr with 57 seconds remaining.

Kendall Denham hit a corner three with five seconds remaining, but the ‘Jackets ran out of time in the comeback effort.

Niles wound up with 10 points and was a force under the basket, blocking six shots and coming within two of his own GNAC-best eight blocks in a game this season. Dom Hunter, who entered the game as the conference’s leading scorer at 26.9 points per game, recorded a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double and added three assists. Naim Ladd was also in double figures with 10 points for the ‘Cats.

CWU committed 21 turnovers compared with 18 by MSUB, and the ‘Cats shot 7-for-20 (35.0 percent) from 3-point range and made 12 of 18 free throws (66.7 percent).

MSUB, which entered the game averaging 91.1 points over its last eight games, shot a solid 40.0 percent from long range (10-for-25) and made 9 of 11 foul shots.

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