BOULDER, CO — (Editor's Note: Montana State Athletics Press Release)
Colorado used a 21-7 second half run to wipe out a double-digit lead, then out-scored Montana State 14-10 in overtime, to steal a 94-90 win from the upset-minded Bobcats in the CU Events Center on the opening night of the 2021-22 college basketball season.
Colorado's Jabari Walker led all players with 19 points, but Elijah Parquet hit the game's biggest shot. The senior guard hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play, then scored three of the Buffaloes' first five points in the extra period to key the win.
"It came down to they made plays and we had a couple mess-ups at the end," said Bobcat coach Danny Sprinkle. "We talk all the time about not giving up the three in that situation. They kind of baited us in and Parquet made a big shot."
Parquet's late heroics were necessary to match those of two Montana State seniors. With 1:44 to play Bobcat guard Xavier Bishop nailed a 35-foot 4-pointer with the shot clock expiring to give MSU a 78-75 lead. Bishop grabbed a rebound on the defensive end on the ensuing possession, and Abdul Mohamed drew a foul and hit both free throws to give the Cats an 80-75 lead with 53 seconds to play.
Needing one stop to clinch the win, the Cats came up empty. First, Buffs big man Evan Battey made two free throws with 43 seconds to play, then after Bishop missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, Parquet nailed his triple on an inside-out feed from Walker to tie the score at 80.
"You know they're going to come on a run," Sprinkle said. "They're too good of a team, they've got veteran players, they've got good players. I'm proud of our guys for building that lead (in the second half)."
Colorado scorched the nets early, hitting the team's first five shots and first three treys to build an 18-11 lead. Sprinkle lauded his team's poise, and that showed in MSU's ability to keep the game close. The Cats pushed into the lead on Great Osabor's dunk in the final minute of the first half, then RaeQuan Battle's dramatic 3 at the halftime buzzer gave the Bobcats a 38-34 lead at intermission.
"I was proud of our poise," Sprinkle said. "They came out and punched us a little bit (to start the game). I was proud of the way were talking in huddles even before (the coaches) got in there. Everybody's head was up."
The second half was a mirror image of the first, with MSU building a double-digit lead thanks to hot shooting. But after turning the ball over only four times in the first half, MSU turned it over 10 times in the second. That allowed Colorado to close the gap.
Montana State falls to 0-1 on the season, while Colorado is 1-0. The Bobcats host Rocky Mountain on Sunday at Worthington Arena. Fans that bring a non-perishable food donation as part of the 'Can The Griz' effort will have the ability to purchase a game ticket for just $5.