Arkansas State defeats Montana to advance to Ro CBI semi-finals


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team earned a 74-61 win over Montana and advanced to the semifinals of the 2024 Ro College Basketball Invitational (CBI) on Monday afternoon at the Ocean Center.

Seeded fourth, Arkansas State (20-16) moves on to battle top-seeded High Point (26-8) in Tuesday’s first semifinal contest which will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT.

The Red Wolves collected their 20th victory of the season and became the fifth Sun Belt Conference team to reach the CBI semifinals in league history and first since Coastal Carolina in 2021.

Arkansas State placed six scorers in double figures, including all five starters, as sophomore forward Izaiyah Nelson registered his seventh double-double on the campaign with 17 points and 12 rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting, as junior guard Freddy Hicks and sophomore guard Derrian Ford added 13 points apiece. Senior guard Caleb Fields compiled 11 points, five rebounds and six assists, and junior guard Taryn Todd chipped in 10 points, as junior forward Dyondre Dominguez shot 3-for-3 from the field to contribute 10 points, three boards and a pair of steals in just 14 minutes off the bench.

The Red Wolves took control of the game early by breaking a 13-13 tie at the 12:15 mark with a 12-0 scoring run in a span of less than four minutes to create their first double-digit lead of the day. The margin widened over the final eight minutes, as they took a 42-23 advantage into halftime.

Montana (24-12) trailed by as many as 21 points early in the second half and cut its deficit to as few as seven points, 60-53, with 4:39 remaining, but Arkansas State would not allow the Grizzlies to draw any closer for the remainder of the contest.

Arkansas State committed just six turnovers in the game and shot 27-for-69 (.391) overall, 8-for-33 (.242) from 3-point range and 12-for-17 (.706) at the free throw line, while owning a 42-31 rebounding margin. The Red Wolves also outscored the Grizzlies, 32-20, in the paint, 24-7 on second chances, 17-5 on fast breaks and 16-9 off turnovers.

Montana was led by Laolu Oke’s 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Josh Vasquez added 12 points.