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, held in Montreal, Canada from Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27.

MSU’s first game will be against the UNC Greensboro Spartans on Nov. 25 at 2:30 pm MT. A Saturday night matchup against the Quinnipiac Bobcats follows on Nov. 26 at 5 pm, then MSU closes the tournament with a game against Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 27 at 11:30 am MT.

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

Carrying a two-game win streak into the Northern Classic, the Bobcats are in the midst of a five-game road stretch that started with an 81-71 win at North Dakota this past Sunday.

So far, junior guard RaeQuan Battle has become the top scorer in the Big Sky Conference, averaging 18.2 points per game on 46.7% shooting, the latter of which ranks sixth amongst Big Sky players. He broke his career-high with 24 points in MSU’s win over Long Beach State, then scored 20 in MSU’s loss to Oregon two days later. In North Dakota on Sunday, Battle outdid himself. The junior recorded not only his first career 30-point outing, but also the first 30-point effort by anyone in the Big Sky by scoring 30 points on 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 outings this year and three different players have led MSU in scoring (Battle, Jubrile Belo and Great Osobor).

The Northern Classic is not only Montana State’s first international series under head coach Danny Sprinkle‘s direction, but also the first regular-season overseas tournament since the Bobcats played in the 2017 Cancun Challenge.

Friday’s game will pit the Bobcats against SoCon power UNC Greensboro, which comes to Canada with a 2-2 record after a 76-72 win over UMBC on Tuesday. Head coach Mike Jones’ team plays a deliberate, yet balanced style of basketball, as the Spartans rank 342nd out of 363 teams in time, according to college basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy. The Spartans have relied on an experienced backcourt led by UMBC transfer Keondre Kennedy, who averages a team-best 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Montana State plays two more uncommon opponents to close out the Northern Classic: Quinnipiac and Middle Tennessee State. Saturday’s matchup against Quinnipiac will only be the second all-time between the two teams; Montana State beat Quinnipiac 87-75 in the season-opening FIU Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 22, 2003. 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 selection Matt Balanc is the other Bobcats’ leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, which is bolstered by two 20-point nights.

Sunday will be the first meeting between Montana State and Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, who were picked to finish 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 6-0 in regular-season multi-team events (MTEs) under Danny Sprinkle. The Bobcats went 3-0 in the Cardinal Thanksgiving Invitational last year and 3-0 in the 2019 Spartan Invitational. Coincidentally, that was the last time MSU played UNC Greensboro; the Bobcats eked out a 67-66 win to spoil the Spartans’ home tournament on Nov. 16, 2019.

After the trip to Canada, the Bobcats will play at Southern Utah on Nov. 30 at 7 pm From there, the Bobcats return for a three-game homestand, starting with St. Thomas on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 pm Single-game and season tickets can be found at msubobcats.com/tickets.

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