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Montana State tops Portland State 77-71

Jan 9, 2010 - 4:17 AM BOZEMAN, Mont.(AP) -- Bobby Howard's 18 points led five Montana State players in double figures as the Bobcats defeated Portland State 77-71 Friday night.

Montana State (9-6, 4-1) led by as many as 14 points in the first half and 11 in the second before Portland State (7-8, 2-1) rallied for a 59-59 tie with 7:17 to play.

Trailing 73-71, the Vikings had two chances to take the lead in the final 1:25, but Phil Nelson missed a 3-pointer with 1:15 to go and Dominic Waters committed a turnover with 20.8 seconds remaining.

Erik Rush and Will Bynum each hit two free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the victory for MSU, which leads the conference.

Rush had 15 points, Bynum and Marquis Navarre 12 each and Branden Johnson 10 for the Bobcats.

Waters had a game-high 24 points, Melvin Jones added 14, Nelson 13 and Jamie Jones had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Vikings.