Bobcat cagers off to strong start
by Danny Waldo
Three games into the 2019-2020 season, and Bobcat fans are already exuding confidence in Danny Sprinkle’s ability to resurrect a once-proud Montana State men’s basketball program.
Much of that enthusiasm comes from MSU’s strong showing on the road at Utah State to kick off the regular season back on November 5th, a game in which Montana State actually held a late lead over the No. 17 ranked team before fading over the final five minutes. Harald Frey made most of those in the gym forget that the Bobcats graduated their most decorated scorer in school history, Tyler Hall, after he dropped 34 points to lead all scorers.
But MSU’s win in their lone exhibition game against an over-matched Yellowstone Christian, as well as their home-opener versus Rocky Mountain College of the NAIA provided potential and athleticism ‘Cat fans haven’t seen in quite some time. True freshman Caleb Bellach from nearby Manhattan Christian displayed his father’s scoring ability in leading MSU with 19 points in the win over Yellowstone Christian, while Mychael Paulo masterfully guided the Blue and Gold attack in the Bobcats’ win over Rocky Mountain.
Paulo scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting, while adding seven assists and three steals from his point guard position. Fellow newcomer Jubrile Belo also added 16 points, while Adamu Amin and Harald Frey contributed 12 points each. All told, 10 players reached the scoring column versus the ‘Battlin Bears, a game in which MSU dropped 93 points on the visitors from Billings.
However, the coming weeks will be telling in just how far this year’s squad can go, as they will face a trio of stiff non-conference tests versus North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Green Bay. North Dakota State is the reigning Summit League champion and an NCAA participant that won a First Four game before losing to Duke in the Round of 64. South Dakota State is the reigning Summit League regular season champion. The Jackrabbits were upset in the opening round of their league tournament, then suffered a first round loss to Texas in the NIT. Green Bay lost in the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.
For a complete schedule of Montana State men’s basketball, log onto www.msubobcats.com. •