Game #9-149: Pepperdine at Montana State BobcatsNovember 29, 2012 10:00 pm
Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
I have always been fascinated by places in America where life is different from the reality that I know and live. Last year I attended my first Big Sky Conference Men's Basketball game at the University of Montana
. Though my time there was brief it inspired me to further explore the area.
I am not sure why I love the Northwest so much...Maybe it is the scenery that looks perfectly painted on some faraway tapestry...Maybe it is the spiritual vibration from the many Native American groups that populate the area or the fact that away from the population centers there are animals lurking which are beautiful...and dangerous.
When you look at a map of all the Division I basketball schools
there are very few other institutions that are as remote as Montana State from the next nearest school, excluding Hawaii. I thought getting there might be a problem in winter. My first preference was flying in if possible as it is serviced by one of the larger airfields in Montana due to it's large tourism industry during summer months at Yellowstone National Park. If this was a problem my next logical move would be to fly to a point due south and drive in slowly with a large vehicle such as a pickup truck. Salt Lake City could put me within 350 miles but I would still have to cross some high altitude areas between ranges, and high altitude this time of year translates to windy, snowy, white knuckle driving.
It was somewhat of a welcome surprise that I was able to arrive from New York City after one connection with no delays and the temperature was a good fifteen degrees above freezing. As I departed the airport I noticed that the luggage carousel moved around the fossilized head of a Tyranosaurus Rex.
My first thought once I arrived in town was to go over to the University and check out the facilities. I soon discovered Montana State has a very large campus and large student body on par with some of the universities that reside above the Red Line. It wasn't hard finding the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse though, its white architecture visible from a distance away. Opening in 1955, tonight I would have an opportunity to explore a venue that was over fifty years old and still in operation much the way it has from the start in our game.
Once inside you will invariably be drawn to the giant Bobcat head that players run thru during introductions. Though this picture probably does not do it justice (its head is higher than the shot clock) it is the largest contraption of its sort that I have encountered in basketball. I wrestled with the reasoning behind this until I realized a few days later that they were deflating it after basketball only to have it reappear across the street at football games where its size was more appropriate for the venue.
Often times when I visit a school outside of a major population center I suppose that many of the patrons derive their income from agriculture in some way, whether it be the style of dress or the leatherbeaten look of the back of their necks. I often wonder how different the average life of a ticket purchasing member of the audience is from my own. Once I even caused a minor stir at a game by suggesting in casual conversation that I had never visited a real farm before.
Pepperdine came into this game as a true favorite in my mind, riding a three game win streak with one of those wins a Red Line upset over Washington State. Since I almost always root for the home team, I thought maybe if the Bobcats shot well and the thin air started to take its toll (altitude 4820 ft.) we could have a game on our hands.
I was partially correct as early on both teams traded baskets but by halftime Pepperdine had really started to assert itself on the glass and was shooting well, holding a ten point lead 36-26. I was very impressed with freshman Stacy Davis of Pepperdine who seemed to be everywhere.
The school band played a great rendition of Thundercats like I was told they would
. It wasn't soon after, in the second half that the Bobcats came roaring back to tie the game at 57-57 at the 7:24 mark led by hot three point shooting from their seniors. This was as close as Montana State would come, eventually falling 76-66. Though the home team didn't win I thought they showed alot of heart by hanging in there when this game could have easily become a blow out.
Everything went so smoothly on the first game of my bigskyroadtrip that I was excited to see what the next day would bring at Eastern Washington University.
PEPPERDINE 76, at MONTANA STATE 66
PEPPERDINE 4-2 (0-0) -- J. Baker 2-8 0-0 4; C. Willis 3-5 2-2 8; S. Davis 9-14 4-4 22; L. Jackson 5-13 5-7 16; J. Raines 2-7 1-2 5; M. De Freitas 2-2 0-0 4; N. Skouen 4-4 2-2 14; A. Russell 1-2 0-2 3; M. Ochenje 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-55 14-19 76.
MONTANA STATE 1-4 (0-0) -- X. Blount 7-14 3-4 19; A. Biglow 3-10 2-2 8; J. Stewart 5-11 3-4 14; P. Egwuonwu 3-6 0-0 6; C. Coleman 1-4 2-2 5; M. Colbert 2-4 0-0 6; F. Davis 1-4 0-0 2; J. Budinich 1-4 0-0 2; E. Norman 1-3 0-0 2; M. Dison 0-2 0-0 0; B. Brumwell 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-63 10-12 66.
Three-point goals: PEPP 6-17 (L. Jackson 1-6; C. Willis 0-1; J. Baker 0-4; N. Skouen 4-4; A. Russell 1-2), MTST 6-22 (J. Budinich 0-1; E. Norman 0-2; J. Stewart 1-4; M. Dison 0-1; X. Blount 2-7; M. Colbert 2-2; A. Biglow 0-1; C. Coleman 1-3; F. Davis 0-1); Rebounds: PEPP 38 (S. Davis 11), MTST 29 (X. Blount 6); Assists: PEPP 15 (L. Jackson 4), MTST 16 (A. Biglow 7); Total Fouls -- PEPP 14, MTST 15; Fouled Out: PEPP-None; MTST-None.
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