Big second half helps Western men past LCSC 80-75
LEWISTON, Idaho – JaRon Brown and Garrett Fink both posted double-doubles and the University of Montana Western men’s basketball team nearly doubled its scoring output in the second half to pick up its first Frontier Conference victory of the season with an 80-75 triumph over Lewis-Clark State College at the LCSC Activity Center on Thursday night.
Brown, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, was a beast inside for the Bulldogs with 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Fink, a 6-5 junior added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Montana Western, now 8-9 on the season and 1-2 in conference play, trailed 35-28 at halftime and by as much as 10 points in the second half, but used a 52-point output in the final 20 minutes to pull away for the win.
LCSC, 7-6 overall and 1-2 in conference play, was outscored 52-30 in the paint despite its height advantage. Brown is Montana Western’s tallest player, while LCSC has four players 6-8 or taller.
Still, it was the penetration by the Bulldogs guards that freed up Brown inside. Because LCSC’s inside defense had to step away from Brown and stop dribble penetration, the Bulldog guards dished off easy passes to Brown for points. Western also had a 17-7 advantage on second chance points despite collecting only two more offensive rebounds than LCSC.
“I thought we were just awful in the second half,” LCSC coach Tim Walker said. “We gave up 52 points and allowed them to shoot better than 50 percent. We just decided to stop playing defense.”
The Warriors held Western to just 37.1 percent shooting in the first half, including a 1-of-10 effort from the 3-point line. In the second half, Western hit 20-of-37 shots for 54.1 percent.
LCSC seemed to be in good shape in the early going of the second half. LCSC led 51-43 with 14:13 left, but Western went on a 15-3 run over the next five minutes to open up a 58-54 lead.
The contest was then tied six times in the second half, the last at 3:53 when LCSC’s Curtis Allen buried two free throws to knot things at 67. But a 3-pointer by Chad Myers and two field goals by Brown on Western offensive rebounds made it 74-67 with 1:43 left.
LCSC eventually cut the lead to three at 76-73 on a 3-pointer by Allen, but Western went 6-of-6 at the foul line in the final minute to preserve the win.
Western had four players in double figures as Cody Thueringer added 17 points, while Myers scored 14.
Allen led LCSC with 20 points, including 15 in the second half, five steals, and five assists, while Brian Duckworth had 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Drew Arnold added 12 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
LCSC shot 29-of-71 in the game for 40.8 percent, and 6-of-21 at the 3-point line for 28.6 percent.
The Warriors will try to bounce back on Saturday when they play host to Montana Tech at 8 p.m. at the Activity Center.