Devon Beitzel scored a season-high 31 points and Northern Colorado made 21 of its last 22 free throws Thursday night in an 86-77 victory over reeling Montana State.
Beitzel was 4 for 6 on 3-point attempts and 9 for 9 at the free-throw line as Northern Colorado (14-9, 10-2) maintained its spot atop the Big Sky Conference standings. The Bears led for all but 46 seconds en route to handing the Bobcats (11-14, 5-8) their sixth consecutive defeat.
Montana State rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit and took a 63-61 lead with 6:46 to play on a basket by Erik Rush, who had 22 points. But Beitzel hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 67-63 with 4:54 to play and the Bears made 14 of 15 free throws in the final 2:51 to seal their third straight victory.
Shawn Reid added 21 points for the Bobcats, who shot less than 50 percent (39.6) for the 10th consecutive game and were outrebounded 37-28.