RaeQuan Battle carrying scoring load for Montana State men early in season

BOZEMAN — Shortly after the Montana State men’s basketball team’s season-opening loss at Grand Canyon University, RaeQuan Battle lamented being called for four fouls.

Those whistles limited how effective he could be on the defensive end and, once he picked up his fourth with more than eight minutes still to play, he had to be subbed out for several minutes as the Bobcats were working to regain the lead down the stretch.

“That’s the thing with playing good defense, sometimes you’ll rack up some fouls,” Battle said on Nov. 7. “ … We can’t be as aggressive, especially when I got my fourth I couldn’t press up on guys as I was in the beginning.”

MSU missed Battle’s presence in the later stages of the game and went on to lose by six. Since then, Battle has been the Bobcats’ leading scorer in three of four games without being called for a single foul in that time.

When Battle is available and not hampered by fouls, he has been the team’s offensive spark early in this season.

Battle, a junior in his second season at Montana State after playing two seasons at Washington, was the Big Sky’s Co-Reserve of the Year last season after averaging 8.5 points on 45.7% shooting off the bench. This year, he has started all five games for MSU (3-2), and his offensive capability is a big reason why.

After scoring eight points in 27 minutes at GCU, Battle scored 24 in 37 minutes in a win at Long Beach State — the most he’d ever scored as a player at UW or Montana State. He followed that up wit