LEWISTON, Idaho – With its offense hitting on all cylinders, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team cruised to its third straight win on Saturday night, defeating Montana Tech 83-69. The victory gives the Warriors sole possession of second place in the Frontier Conference standings.
“From the numbers it looks like it was back to an offensive battle here,” said LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta, who notches his third straight 20 win season with the program. “Would have liked to defend them a little bit better than we did, but they’re just so efficient offensively. They don’t wow you, but they know what they can do, they know there roles, and (Adam) Greger got it going a little bit tonight.”
But all the offense the Orediggers could muster paled in comparison to LCSC’s onslaught which included a 60 percent shooting clip, a 15-2 advantage in fast-break points, and a season-best 9-for-13 effort from the outside.
Sophomore forward Jacob Wiley, named last week’s NAIA National Player of the Week, had 19 points and seven boards, while seniors Gavin Kauffman and Brady Bagby added 17 and 143 points, respectively. Kauffman came off the bench to hit all four of his attempts from long range, tallying his second straight game with 15 or more points.
“Gavin obviously was really good tonight,” Rinta said. “He’s just in a great rhythm right now. This stretch that he’s playing is as well as he’s played as a Warrior here, and it couldn’t come at a better time as he’s ending his career.”
Despite the 22-point, six-rebound effort of Greger, the Warriors built a 12-point lead by halftime, 44-32, and kept the lead at double digits for almost the entire second half. The lead was at 19 with five minutes to play.
Montana Tech (13-11, 4-6) shot a very respectable 55 percent overall, but it wasn’t quite enough to keep pace.
The win lifts the Warriors to 20-6 and 6-4 in league play. They trail only No. 15 Montana Western (19-6, 7-3) in the standings, a team they’ll face in their final game of the regular season on Feb. 28 at the Activity Center.
After winning three straight at home, the Warriors are now 15-1 at the friendly confines of the Activity Center this year. But they’ll have to take their game back out on the road to Montana next week when they face Rocky Mountain (16-9, 5-6) in Billings on Thursday and Carroll College (16-8, 5-5) in Helena on Saturday.
“It’s nice to be at home. Our guys definitely play with a lot more energy here at home,” Rinta said. “Now we’re heading back out for our final two road games. At Rocky, at Carroll. It’s going to be a big test for us. Can we carry this momentum out on the road? Can we continue to play at this level in someone else’s gym after a long bus ride?”
These questions will soon be answered and will mean the difference for whether or not the Warriors play for the regular season conference crown in its final home games at the end of the month.
Sports Information Director &
Asst. Director of College Communications
Lewis-Clark State College
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
Fax: 208-792-2731 Website