Walker and Stockton help No. 11 Westminster defeat LCSC 60-53
LEWISTON, Idaho – Ben Walker and Michael Stockton combined for 33 points, including six in the final two minutes, to help the Westminster College men’s basketball team hold off Lewis-Clark State College 60-53 in Frontier Conference play on Saturday night.
The win helps Westminster, ranked No. 11 in the NAIA, take over sole possession of first place at the halfway point of the conference season. Westminster is 6-1 in league play and 16-5 overall after winning its third straight game.
For LCSC, it was another disappointing finish to a game where it had its chances. In its last three games at home – all losses – the Warriors were within striking distance in the final 10 minutes but couldn’t make the critical play when needed. The Warriors fall to2-5 in league and 11-10 overall.
Westminster led nearly the entire way, but during a first-half dominated by defense, the Griffins needed a 10-4 run during the final four minutes to take a 26-17 advantage at halftime, their largest lead to that point.
The Griffins scored the first basket of the second half to lead by 11, but LCSC cut the margin to six and it remained that way until midway through the half when Westminster went on a 7-0 run, which Walker finished with a layin. That put the Griffins seemingly in control at 46-30.
LCSC, however, picked up back-to-back 3-pointers from Markus Monroe and Derek Gianukakis to cut the margin to 49-41 with less than five minutes to play.
Westminster again appeared to be in control as Walker hit a pair of free throws and also scored on a layin for a 54-45 advantage with 3:35 left.
The Warriors, however, wouldn’t go away quietly. Gianukakis made his fourth 3-pointer of the game and Daniel Williams scored on a convention three-point play to help LCSC cut the margin to five at 54-49.
Stockton, the son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton, answered with a pair of free throws and a bucket to again stretch the lead to nine at 58-49 with 1:49 left.
LCSC tried one last rally as field goals from Jared Giammona and Monroe cut the lead to five again at 58-53 with 46 seconds left, , but Walker hit two free throws to close out the game.
Walker, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, finished with a game-high 18 points, while Stockton, a junior guard, added 15. Senior guard Jeramie Hopson added 11 points and eight assists.
With his 3-pointers, Gianukakis was the only Warrior in double figures with 12 points. Williams added nine, while James Craft had eight.
For the game, Westminster was 24-of-45 from the field for 53.3 percent, but only 4-of-14 from the 3-point line for 28.6 percent. LCSC was 19-of-45 for 42.2 percent, but made 13-of-20 attempts in the second half (65 percent) after making only 6-of-25 (24 percent) in the first half.
Running back door cuts and drives to the basket, Westminster outscored LCSC 38-20 in the paint, but the Warrior bench, which had only four players, outscored Westminster’s bench 22-6.
LCSC now plays five of its final seven games on the road, starting next weekend. LCSC takes on Montana State-Northern on Friday and then Great Falls on Saturday. Both contests start at 7 p.m.