LCSC holds off Great Falls 76-68 in FC opener
LEWISTON, Idaho – Junior guard Markus Monroe scored six of his team-leading 22 points in the final two minutes of the game to help the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team hold off the University of Great Falls 76-68 in the Frontier Conference opener for both teams at the LCSC Activity Center on Thursday night.
Monroe, who was named the Frontier Conference’s Player of the Week last week, made a three-point play at the 1:53 mark to push LCSC’s lead to seven, and after the lead was cut to four, he hit three free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Warriors improve to 10-5 overall.
The game was a contrast in halves. LCSC controlled the first half as UGF missed its first 11 shots from the field. It wasn’t until the 11:03 mark when Norman Towns hit a jumper that Great Falls scored from the field. His shot cut LCSC’s lead to 15-5.
Great Falls, 4-11 overall, cut the margin to three, but a 12-3 run by LCSC late in the first half helped the Warriors to a 39-25 lead at intermission. The 25 points was the lowest total LCSC has allowed in the first half this season.
Although LCSC stretched the lead to 15 twice early in the second half, the Argonauts caught fired behind Towns and Mark Celaya, who combined for 32 of UGF’s 43 points in the second half. Towns scored a game-high 23 points, including 15 in the second half, while Celaya added 17 in the half and 21 for the game.
A 3-pointer by Towns at the 7:10 mark tied the game at 53 and another 3-pointer by Towns at the 6:38 mark gave Great Falls its first lead since 2-0 at 56-55.
Monroe helped the shorthanded Warriors answer the bell. He scored on a drive to the basket and followed it up with a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 Warrior run. A three-point play by Celaya cut the Warrior lead to 64-61, but a 3-pointer by Derek Gianukakis, his fourth of the night, and Monroe’s 3-point play at the 1:53 mark but LCSC ahead 70-63.
Great Falls still cut the lead to 71-68 on a bucket by Celaya with 29 seconds left, but Monroe made one of two free throws with 28 seconds remaining and then both free throws with 16 seconds left. A dunk by Tanner McIntosh put the final points on the board for LCSC.
The Warriors played the game without starting point guard Terrell Wallace, who turned an ankle in practice. Also, guard Daniel Williams tweaked his hamstring in the game, which he injured earlier in the week. When Jared Giommona fouled out with less than four minutes remaining, LCSC had only six healthy bodies to use.
Despite hitting only 6-of-19 shots from the field, Monroe also led LCSC with eight assists, seven rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. Gianukakis finished with 14 points, while James Craft added 13 points and six boards. Giammona also was in double figures with 11 points.
For the game, LCSC hit 27-of-57 shots from the field for 47.4 percent. LCSC also was 7-of-16 at the 3-point line for 43.8 percent. Great Falls was 25-of-65 from the field for 38.5 percent, and 7-of-23 from the 3-point line, 30.4 percent.
Great Falls held a 45-34 rebounding edge with Dyston Madsen grabbing a game-high 14 boards. The Argos, however, had 17 turnovers in the contest.
Both teams resume action on Saturday night. LCSC plays host to Montana State-Northern at 8 p.m., while Great Falls travels to Salt Lake City to face Westminster.