Brian Fish

Coach Brian Fish and Montana State dropped their first Big Sky Conference game Thursday at Portland State.

DEAN HENDRICKSON, For 406mtsports.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland State started fast and never gave ground, racing past Montana State 93-74 at Lewis and Clark College’s Pamplin Sports Center on Thursday.

The nation’s leader in forced turnovers, PSU jumped out to an 11-2 lead over the Bobcats in the game’s first 2:39. That stretch featured three MSU turnovers and a pair of Vikings 3-pointers. Those two features proved the game’s defining characteristics. The Vikings finished with 14 3s and 21 takeaways.

Bobcat coach Brian Fish said offensive execution plagued his squad.

“We missed layups,” he said. “They got us sped up, and we missed too many layups.”

After Keljin Blevins converted a layup on the game’s first possession, Montana State went more than three minutes without scoring. When Konner Frey scored at 16:21 the score was 11-4.

A 3-pointer by Deontae North pushed the Vikings' lead to double digits. Another Bobcat dry spell, four minutes without scoring in the middle of the half, allowed PSU to push the lead to 29-15 and MSU would never get within single digits again.

North led all player with 22 points, while Michael Mayhew added 18 on 6-of-9 shooting — all from beyond the arc — for Portland State. Tyler Hall scored 16 points for MSU, which had five players in double figures. Blevins and Konner Frey each scored 12, Joe Mvuezolo scored 11 and Harald Frey added 10.

Portland State raised its record to 12-5 overall, 2-2 in the Big Sky, and hosts Montana on Saturday. MSU is now 11-7 and 4-1, and plays at Sacramento State on Saturday at 8 p.m. Mountain time.

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