A late second-half rally was not enough for the Idaho State men’s basketball team as the Bengals dropped a 73-69 decision to Montana State on Thursday night in Bozeman, Montana.
Montana State led by 18 points with 16 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game, but Idaho State cut the deficit to 62-56 with 8:30 remaining after a Nico Aguirre 3-pointer. Idaho State would get within three points at 68-65 with 22 seconds left in the game, but the Bobcats closed it out.
Malik Porter led the Bengals with 14 points. Tarik Cool scored 13 while Jared Stutzman had 12 and Austin Smellie 11.
The Bengals were out-rebounded 37-29, with Chier Maker leading the way for ISU with 10 boards.
Idaho State shot 40% from the field, while the Bobcats shot 56%.
Idaho State trailed 41-29 at halftime. The first half saw MSU shoot 69% from the field, while Idaho State was held to 36% shooting.
“We dug ourselves into a hole in the first eight minutes,” Idaho State head coach Ryan Looney said. “We didn’t get too many stops. I think we only got two stops in the first eight minutes. We had a rut we had to get out of, but I am proud of how we fought.”
Looney added, on his team’s second-half rally, “The guys played hard defensively. We started to press and mix in a zone on the back end. There are no moral victories, but we won the second half by eight points.”
Up next: Idaho State returns to the court on Saturday at 7 p.m., playing Montana in Missoula, Montana.