Montana State Roars from Behind, 74-60

Dec. 9, 2008

Box Score

Bozeman, MT - Bobby Howard scored 20 points and led a second-half rally that carried Montana State to a 74-60 non-conference men's basketball victory Tuesday night over Cal State Fullerton.

The Bobcats got 16 points from Divaldo Mbunga and improved to 4-3. The Titans got 18 points each from Aaron Thompson and Josh Akognon but fell to 4-6.

Fullerton made only 6 of 29 shots in the second half for 21 percent after making 55 percent in the first half. Montana State won the rebounding battle, 40-25, but committed 17 turnovers to 9 for Fullerton.

Montana State used a 15-2 burst to open the second half to erase Fullerton's 43-34 lead and take a 49-45 advantage five minutes into the period. Both teams stagnated on offense and it was only 56-54 Montana State 8 minutes later. But the Titans struggled offensively and the Bobcats pulled away with a 10-1 run and finished up with 9 3-point field goals in 20 tries compared to Fullerton's 6 of 28 effort.

Akognon made only 6 of 23 shots including 3 of 14 3-pointers as his school-record streak of consecutive games with 20 or more points ended at eight.

"Montana State settled down in the second half and understood what the kids had to do to win the game and we didn't," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton.

"I never felt like we were in control of the game. We played tired the whole time. I didn't feel comfortable with the way we got the lead.

"Our guys will have to be more competitive. Foul trouble killed us."

With Gerard Anderson sidelined, the Titans started 6-foot-4 junior guard Chris Rhymes at the power forward position and he got an early bucket as Fullerton jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 8-4. Thompson put them ahead at 11-8 with a 3-point play and the lead was gradually extended to as many as 12 points at 43-31.

Papa Guisse got two early fouls so Coach Burton went to his bench early and Adam Thomas and Regan Andersen saw action to try to match the Bobcats size advantage inside. Thomas made his only two shots to match his previous best of 4 points vs. Hope International. Thompson joined Akognon in providing the offense, hitting all five shots on his way to 12 first-half points.

Fullerton will play only its third home game of the year Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. vs. Cal State Bakersfield.