LCSC men narrowly defeated by No. 4 Westminster
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team contended with the NAIA’s fourth-ranked team but couldn’t keep up the pace down the stretch and fell just short of a major upset on Saturday night. The Warriors were defeated by powerhouse Westminster College 81-77.
The Warriors might have caught Westminster, which clinched the Frontier Conference regular season title last weekend, a little off guard with how well they shot the ball. LCSC outshot the Griffins 55.8 percent to 54.7 percent from the floor and ended up making it a contest that was decided in the final minute.
LCSC tied the game on four occasions during the second half and made it a one possession game with less than a minute remaining. Markus Monroe hit a jumper to make the score 77-75 with 21 seconds left in regulation. To stop the clock the Warriors fouled on the next play, but the Griffins made both free throws to make it a four point game and then a turnover by the Warriors on the next possession made the lead insurmountable.
“Our guys played really hard and we were in the game the whole time,” said LCSC assistant coach Tim Collins.
Finishing the regular season with an overall record of 14-14 and a conference mark of 5-9, the Warriors will enter the conference tournament as the No. 6 seed and will play third-seeded Montana State University-Northern at Havre, Mont., on Tuesday. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m., Pacific time.
“We’re building on every game experience this year,” said Collins. “We’re played really hard and really well on the road this season, and our guys are excited about playing in Havre next Tuesday.”
Despite facing a team that has held its opponents to 60.7 points per game (third best in the NAIA), the Warriors found ways to score against Westminster on Saturday.
Daniel Williams led the Warriors, which saw four players score in double digits, with 21 points on a 3-of-3 night from long range. Monroe finished with 17 points, James Craft had 13, and Tanner McIntosh had 10.
Westminster, which has now won 10 straight, was led by Blair Prowse who had 25 points, and shot 7-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. Ben Walker and Weston Anderson had 16 and 13 points, respectively. Anderson also had a game-high nine assists.
Walker led the Griffins with seven rebounds, while Monroe and Craft led LCSC with five rebounds apiece.
Lewis-Clark State was hurt by a slow start that put the Griffins out in front 11-0 and 18-3.
Westminster has now won two consecutive regular season titles and enters the postseason as the top seed with an overall record of 23-5 and a conference mark of 13-1. It will play its opening round game at home against the University of Great Falls.