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Bobcats travel to Canada for the Northern Classic

BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Montana State men’s basketball team’s busy November schedule continues with three games at the Northern Classic, played Friday, November 25 through Sunday, November 27 in Montreal, Canada.

MSU’s first game is on November 25 at 2:30 PM MT against the UNC Greensboro Spartans. A Saturday night matchup against the Quinnipiac Bobcats will follow on November 26 at 5:00 p.m., then MSU will wrap up the tournament with a game against Middle Tennessee State on November 27 at 11:30 a.m. MT.

All three games will be streamed on BeTheBeast Event Live+, which can be purchased online or via the link on the men’s basketball team schedules page at msubobcats.com. In addition, a free radio show will be provided through the Bobcat Sports Radio Network.

With a two-game winning streak in the Northern Classic, the Bobcats are in the middle of a five-game stretch that began last Sunday with an 81-71 win in North Dakota.

So far, junior guard RaeQuan Battle is the top scorer in the Big Sky Conference, averaging 18.2 points per game on 46.7% shooting, with the latter ranking sixth among Big Sky players. He broke his career-high 24 points in MSU’s win over Long Beach State and scored 20 points in MSU’s loss to Oregon two days later. In North Dakota, Battle outdid themselves on Sunday. The junior not only recorded his first 30-pointer of his career, but also the first 30-pointer of anyone in Big Sky by scoring 30 points in 12-for-20 shooting.

Aside from Battle, the Bobcats have had a balanced offensive attack so far; at least nine Bobcats have scored in each game. Ten Bobcats have had double-digit scoring tally this year, and three different players have led MSU in scoring (Battle, Jubrile Belo, and Great Osobor).

The Northern Classic isn’t just Montana State’s first international series under head coaching Danny Sprinklebut also the first overseas regular-season tournament since the Bobcats played at the 2017 Cancun Challenge.

On Friday, the Bobcats meet SoCon power UNC Greensboro, who come to Canada with a 2-2 record after a 76-72 win over UMBC on Tuesday. Head Coach Mike Jones’ team plays a deliberate but balanced style of basketball, as the Spartans rank 342nd out of 363 teams in pace, according to college basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy. The Spartans have relied on an experienced backcourt led by UMBC transfer Keondre Kennedy, who is averaging 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game as team-best.

Montana State plays two more unusual opponents to end the Northern Classic: Quinnipiac and Middle Tennessee State. Saturday’s duel against Quinnipiac will be only the second all-time between the two teams; Montana State defeated Quinnipiac on November 22, 2003 in the season-opening FIU tip-off tournament, 87-75. So far, the Quinnipiac Bobcats have gone 5-0, making them one of 40 remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Redshirt senior and 2021-22 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pick Matt Balanc is the other Bobcats’ leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, bolstered by two 20-point nights.

Sunday sees the first clash between the Blue Raiders of Montana State and Middle Tennessee State, who placed fourth in the Conference USA Preseason Poll. The Blue Raiders are led by a trio of juniors who average 10 points per game: Eli Lawrence (10.5 PPG), Elias King (10.3 PPG), and Camryn Weston (10.3 PPG).

Montana State has gone down 6-0 in regular-season multi-team events (MTEs). Danny Sprinkle. The Bobcats won last year’s Cardinal Thanksgiving Invitational 3-0 and the 2019 Spartan Invitational 3-0. Coincidentally, this was the last time MSU played UNC Greensboro; The Bobcats earned a 67-66 win to spoil the Spartans’ home tournament on November 16, 2019.

After traveling to Canada, the Bobcats play Southern Utah on November 30 at 7:00 p.m. From there, the Bobcats return for a three-game home game beginning with St. Thomas on Thursday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. For single game and season tickets, go to msubobcats.com/tickets.

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