CHENEY, Wash. - The historical streak is finally history.
Bobby Howard scored 15 points, including Montana State's final eight, and the Bobcats snapped a nine-game losing skid with a 60-56 victory over Eastern Washington on Thursday night.
The nine-game streak tied for the second longest in program history. It fell short of the record, which was set during the 1969-1970 season when the Bobcats lost 12 straight.
"That's about as tough as it gets," MSU head coach Brad Huse said of his team's slide in a postgame radio interview. "The doubt gets placed in your head whether you like it or not. But our guys never quit, and now we've turned the corner."
Howard sank six straight foul shots over the final 1:38 to seal it for the Bobcats (12-16, 6-8 Big Sky). Huse also called the effort from bench players like Chris McCall and Cody Anderson, who finished with 12 and 11 respective points, keys to the MSU win.
"Our guys did a nice job finding Cody on some pick and rolls," Huse said. "Then McCall stepped out there like he's been doing that all year. He's a very confident and tough-minded kid."
Laron Griffin had 12 points and 15 rebounds and Glen Dean had 12 points and six assists for the Eagles (8-19, 5-9), who lost their fourth straight despite leading 45-35 with 12:44 left.
From that point, the Bobcats outscored Eastern Washington 17-2 and went up 52-47.
Huse called the win pivotal, as it allowed MSU takes sole possession of fifth place in the Big Sky Conference race. The Eagles had been tied for the spot coming into the night.
The top six teams make the conference tournament.
"If they win, they're probably in the playoffs. If we win we're probably in," Huse said.
On Saturday, the Bobcats will travel to face the Portland State Vikings, who are ineligible for the conference tournament. Each of the four teams fighting for the two remaining spots in the conference tournament have two league games remaining.
The Bobcats now hold a one-game lead over the Eagles and a two-game lead over Idaho State and Sacramento State.