BILLINGS, Mont. – The No. 21-ranked Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team suffered yet another narrow loss on the road on Thursday night against Rocky Mountain College. In what was a one-point game in the final 10 seconds, the Warriors fell to the Battlin’ Bears 90-87.
LC State, which owns a sparkling 15-1 record at home this year, is now 20-7 overall with a 6-5 record in the Frontier Conference. All five of the team’s league losses have come away from home and most of those have been decided in the final minute.
“We didn’t come out of the gates great, but I give our guys credit for fighting back to take the lead there in the first half,” LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta said. “They made a big run, then we made a big run, then they made a big run, and we just had some rough defensive stretches.”
Rocky Mountain (17-9, 6-6) opened the game with a 19-4 run, but LCSC answered with a 25-1 stretch to lead 42-38 at the half.
After the break, the Warriors built their lead to 14 with 10:42 left in regulation, but the Bears scored 14 unanswered points to tie it up at 68-68. LCSC lost the lead with just under five minutes to play and never got it back as RMC clung to a lead of a few points or less the rest of the way.
Causing a lot of the momentum changes was the prolific scoring of Rocky guards Malachi Roberts and Tyree Anderson. Roberts had 28 points, while Anderson tallied 23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and five steals.
“They’re a really good team. They’ve got really good guards,” said Rinta. “We did a good job of guarding the 3-point line tonight, and that’s what we wanted to do, but we just fouled them too much when they were putting the ball on the deck.”
Both teams shot 40 percent from the field. LCSC was 10-of-30 from the outside to RMC’s 7-of-23 effort. At the foul line, Rocky went 25-for-36, while LC State made 17-of-22 attempts.
LCSC had five players score in double figures including big men Jacob Wiley and Erick Diouf who turned in a pair of double-doubles. Wiley had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Diouf had 12 points and 11 boards. Jon Humphrie added 13 points, Trea Thomas had 11, and Brady Bagby had 10.
Rinta said that Humphrie, who was 3-for-6 from the outside, and Jamaal Thomas played key roles off the bench in the team’s rally in the first half. Rich Tesmer added a team-high eight assists.
In the final seconds as the Bears tried to close out the back-and-forth game, Bagby hit a deep three to cut the deficit to one, 86-85, with 9.6 seconds remaining. Coming out of a timeout, LCSC then used a full-court press to guard the inbounds, but Rocky threw a football pass down court to Anderson and he slammed it to put the home team up 88-85.
The Warriors weren’t done yet though as they used a heave of their own to find an open Tesmer who was fouled before the shot. With 6.6 left on the clock, Tesmer made both free throws to cut the lead back to one.
After an LC foul and two makes on the other end of the floor, the Warriors had one final chance to tie it up. They inbounded to Trea Thomas with 5.1 seconds to go. He dribbled his way around a couple of defenders and got a 3-point shot off in time, but it fell short.
The loss snaps LC State’s three-game win streak and drops it from second to third in the conference standings. On Saturday, the Warriors can make back up that ground, however, when they face Carroll College (18-8, 7-5) at 6:30 p.m., Pacific, in Helena, Mont. The Saints slipped past the Warriors and into second place with a 72-63 win over Montana Tech on Thursday night.
“There’s not much that needs to be said,” said Rinta. “There’s going to be a lot on the line in Helena on Saturday night.”
Sports Information Director &
Asst. Director of College Communications
Lewis-Clark State College
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
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