Their faces were bland, nearly emotionless.
Their voices were monotone, and the body language suggested they wanted to talk about anything else.
Brad Huse and Shawn Reid eventually did talk about something else, and their voices rose and body language improved when the subject turned to today's Big Sky Conference matchup with league leader Weber State.
However, the first questions asked at Tuesday's weekly press conference on the Montana State campus had to do with MSU junior Xavier Blount, a guard who was allegedly the victim of assault outside a downtown Bozeman bar Sunday morning.
Huse, the Montana State University men's basketball coach, confirmed Tuesday "at this point it appears that Xavier's season is over" due to injuries he suffered this past weekend and the team has to move on. It is the third men's basketball player who signed a National Letter of Intent withMontana State University prior to the 2011-2012 season who has missed playing time this year; Antonio Biglow and Jamie Stewart have also missed part or all of this season due to academic eligibility issues.
Huse said the first thing he thought about after learning of the incident was Blount's health. According to the head coach, the transfer from Cochise College in Arizona suffered a broken nose, a split lip that required several stitches and a shoulder injury. He was treated at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital emergency room early Sunday morning, but was not admitted.
"A lot of stuff goes through your mind, certainly, when incidents occur that are, in this light, aren't good. One, you worry about Xavier's welfare, well-being, and that's the primary thing," Huse said Tuesday. "We've had a chance to visit with him, and he's in recovery mode. Our thoughts are with him at this point in that regard, and our primary deal at this point is (we) want to see Xavier make a full recovery as soon as possible."
"I haven't been in communication with him," said Reid, a sophomore forward for the ‘Cats. "He got put in a tough situation, as (far as) what we know, he's recovering. That's really all I can say right now."
Blount, a second-team National Junior College Athletic Association guard last season, averaged 11.7 points per game, tops on the team, in 24 games this winter. He was tied for the team lead in steals with 26 and third on the team with 48 assists. Huse noted Blount's efforts on defense improved exponentially from when he walked on campus.
"(He's) certainly a guy that has scored the ball, but also one of our best defenders ... on our team, he's made the greatest jump," Huse said. "His determination and intensity on that end of the floor has come a long way and an important piece to what we do is how he guards."
The Bobcats will insert Reid into the starting lineup tonight against Weber State (20-4, 12-1) in Blount's place, and will experiment with playing both Bobcat point guards (senior Rod Singleton and freshman Mike Dison) on the court at the same time. The team will also use a post player at the wing position alongside junior Christian Moon and Reid.
"We just got to come in and fight, which we've done a really good job of this year," Reid said. "We go in and fight every game. It's a man down, but we have other players who can step up, fill roles. That's really what it comes down to - we can't worry about that and have to put that behind us and can't let it affect how we play.
"It's big numbers and a lot of minutes that (Xavier) puts in. We just have to find different guys to fill those minutes and fill that role."
Gidal Kaiser can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2670.