LCSC men's basketball team opens its season with a win
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team successfully kicked off its season Friday afternoon with a 71-64 triumph over Johnson & Wales at Walla Walla University.
The season-opening contest for both teams was originally part of a four-team tournament, but the fourth team backed out about a month ago, leaving three teams. This was LCSC’s only game for the weekend as the LCSC-Walla Walla University game has been rescheduled for Dec. 12.
Because it was the first game of the season for the WWU stat crew there were several problems with the final statistics – including showing LCSC down by 14 points at halftime when the game was actually tied – there were no official stats available on the game. WWU officials plan to restat the game on Saturday and will release official statistics at that time.
Johnson & Wales, an NCAA Division II school in Denver, made the game interesting at the end when LCSC missed some free throws. The Wildcats trailed by 8-10 points for most of the game, according to LCSC assistant coach Tim Collins, but managed to cut the lead to five near the end.
“We kept it interesting because we didn’t make some free throws near the end,” Collins said. “That kind of kept them in the game. We finally made them at the end when we needed them.”
Collins said the contest featured typical first-game mistakes, especially with nearly half of LCSC’s roster playing in their first game as Warriors.
“We gutted this one out,” Collins said. “We played well defensively. Holding them to 64 points was key because they have some offensive weapons. We fought through a lot of adversity to get this win.”
Collins said junior guard Markus Monroe led the Warriors in scoring.
Collins also pointed out the defensive play of LCSC’s four big men – James Craft, Tanner McIntosh, Greg Shepard, and Alex King – as being instrumental in the win.
“They all took turns guarding their big man Andrew Baker and did a tremendous job,” Collins said. “He’s one of their top returners, but every one of our big guys did a great job on him.”
Collins said LCSC was able to force some turnovers in the second half, which the team was able to convert into 8-12 points in transition buckets.
“It was kind of a weird game, but it’s a win,” Collins said.
The Warriors return to action on Monday for their home opener and the first of 11 doubleheaders with the Warrior women’s team this season. Both teams take on Northwest Christian University with the women’s game at 6 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 8 p.m.