The 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, November 25th to Sunday, November 27th.

MSU’s first game will be against the UNC Greensboro Spartans on Nov. 25 at 2:30 PM MT. Next up is a Saturday night game against the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Nov. 26 at 5:00 p.m., then MSU closes out the tournament with a game against Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 27 at 11:30 a.m. 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 schedule page at msubobcats.com. Additionally, a free radio broadcast will be provided through the Bobcat Sports Radio Network.

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

So far, junior guard RaeQuan Battle has become the leading scorer in the Big Sky Conference, averaging 18.2 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting, the latter of which ranks sixth among 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 performance, but also the first 30-point effort by anyone in the Big Sky, scoring 30 points on 12-for-20 shooting.

Besides Battle, the Bobcats have had a balanced offensive attack so far; at least nine Bobcats have scored in each game. Ten Bobcats have scored in double figures 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 the head coach Danny Sprinkledestination, but also the first overseas regular-season tournament since the Bobcats played in the 2017 Cancun Challenge.

Friday’s game pits 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’ squad 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 rely on an experienced backcourt led by UMBC transfer Keondre Kennedy, who is averaging a team-high 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Montana State plays two more unusual opponents to close out the Northern Classic: Quinnipiac and Middle Tennessee State. Saturday’s game against Quinnipiac will be just the second all-time between the two teams; Montana State defeated Quinnipiac 87-75 in the season-opening FIU Tip-Off Tournament on November 22, 2003. The Quinnipiac Bobcats are 5-0 thus far, making them one of the 40 remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Redshirt senior and 2021-22 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection Matt Balanc is the Bobcats’ other leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, bolstered by two 20-point nights.

Sunday will be the first meeting between Montana State and the 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 averaging 10 points per game: Eli Lawrence (10.5 PPG), Elias King (10.3 PPG) and Camryn Weston (10.3 PPG).

Montana State went 6-0 in the regular season in multi-team events (MTEs). Danny Sprinkle. The Bobcats went 3-0 in the Cardinal Thanksgiving Invitational last year and 3-0 in the Spartan Invitational in 2019. Coincidentally, that was the last time MSU played UNC Greensboro; The Bobcats cruised to a 67-66 victory to spoil the Spartans’ home run on November 16, 2019.

After the trip to Canada, the Bobcats will play at Southern Utah on Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m. From there, the Bobcats return for a three-game homestand, starting with St. Thomas on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m. tickets can be found at msubobcats.com/tickets.

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