BOZEMAN (AP) — A standout performance by Montana State’s Carlos Taylor couldn’t have come at a better time — at home, in the Big Sky Conference opener, and against cross-state rival Montana.
Taylor scored a career-high 34 points to help lead Montana State to a 74-58 victory over Montana on Saturday night.
“I just wanted to take what they gave me,” Taylor said. “If it was a pull-up jumper I’d take that, if it was a layup I’d take that.”
Taylor also said his performance helped pull him out of a brief slump.
“I’ve been struggling for a little while now,” he said. “I sat down with Coach (Brad Huse) and watched some film, and picked out some things I could make improvements on.”
Divaldo Mbunga had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Bobcats (9-5, 1-0 Big Sky), who beat Montana for the first time in six meetings.
The win was especially sweet for senior guard Casey Durham, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds.
“It feels great,” said Durham, who hasn’t seen Montana State beat Montana since his freshman season. “I haven’t had this feeling in a while. … We haven’t had that in five games.”
Neither team led by more than four points in a back-and-forth first period. The Grizzlies led 34-33 at the break.
Montana (6-8, 0-1) took a seven-point lead early in the second half after Montana State made just 1-of-7 from the field. But the Bobcats went on an 11-0 run capped by a Mbunga layup to retake the lead with 9:57 remaining. They led the rest of the game and finished with an 18-4 run to seal the win.
Ryan Studacher and Andrew Strait led Montana with 10 points apiece. Jordan Hasquet added nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies.
“There wasn’t much opportunity there for me, and they did a good job taking me out of my game,” Hasquet said.
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