Bishop leads Montana State to 69-53 win over Southern Utah

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Xavier Bishop tied his career high with 28 points to lead Montana State to a 69-53 win over Southern Utah, giving the Bobcats at least a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season men’s basketball title for the first time in 20 years.

Bishop made 9-of-14 shots from the field, all nine of his free throws and had two assists Tuesday night.

“Xavier Bishop just wasn’t going to let us lose,” Montana State coach Danny Sprinkle said.

The Bobcats (22-7, 14-4 Big Sky) used a 13-1 run to take a 31-20 halftime lead against the Thunderbirds (18-10, 12-6), who had been averaging nearly 80 points per game.

Montana State held Southern Utah to just 33% shooting and its 53 points is the fewest it’s scored against a Big Sky team this season.

The Thunderbirds pulled within 43-42 with 9:22 remaining before Bishop started pouring in the points and the Bobcats built a 58-47 lead with 3:50 left.

Amin Adamu added 13 points and Jabrile Belo finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the Bobcats. John Knight III led Southern Utah with 12 points and four assists.

Montana State can claim the Big Sky title outright with a win over Sacramento State on Thursday in Bozeman.