Montana State junior Leia Beattie posted a career-high 27 points, while Grace Beasley (16) and Kola Bad Bear (13) were also in double digits as the Bobcats recovered from a 13-point deficit in the first half and a 74-65 victory in overtime over San Jose State on Tuesday night.
Montana State (4-1) led 17-15 after the first quarter before San Jose State (1-3) opened the second period and had 15 unanswered points.
With three minutes remaining in the quarter, the Midland, Texas guard hit a pair of pull-up jumpers followed by a Bad Bear layup. Beattie ended the half with two back-to-back threes to cut the Spartans’ lead to 30-29 at the break.
“Leia had an excellent night,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “She took over when we needed her the most and she put down some big shots and got us to one at half-time.”
Freshman Marah Dykstra converted two free throws to give MSU a 36-34 lead at the 6:24 mark of the third quarter, but SJSU rattled off an 8-2 run to take a 42-37 advantage with 3-08 to achieve the frame. Once again, the Bobcats responded and finished the stanza with a 10-3 run, with Beasley’s two free throws giving MSU a 47-45 lead into the final quarter.
“I really liked our resilience,” said Binford. “We attacked and got on the edge. It was an ugly game but we played with a lot of courage and found a way to win.”
Both teams traded points to open the final quarter, and Beasley’s layup at 4:26 left gave the Bobcats a 58-53 lead. The Spartans finished the game on an 8-3 run and neither team converted in the last minute, forcing overtime.
San Jose State led 65-63 early after 4:16 in overtime, but it was the last time the Spartans saw the scoreboard as MSU ended the night with an 11-0 run when five different Bobcats scored .
For the game, MSU shot 37.5% from field, connecting from long range on 6 of 23 and converting 20 of 25 from the line. The Bobcats forced San Jose State to 23 turnovers. The Spartans shot 35.3% from the field and were 10 of 14 at the line.
MSU had a narrow 44-43 advantage under the boards as Darian White and Dykstra paced the Bobcats with ten and seven rebounds, respectively.
The State of Montana will travel to Denton, Texas for the North Texas Thanksgiving Tournament. The Bobcats face Abilene Christian on Friday before taking on Mean Green on Sunday afternoon.