Cold-shooting Warriors fall to UGF
LEWISTON, Idaho – Suffering through its worst offensive showing of the season, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team lost at home to the University of Great Falls for the first time in Frontier Conference play 70-58 on Saturday night and in the process fell out of a tie for first place.
LCSC had only 34 points after 34 minutes of the contest and never led. It finally warmed up a bit in the final six minutes when it was forced to foul and cut the lead to single digits, only to have the Argos connect on their free throws – something the Warriors were unable to do.
LCSC finished the game only 20-of-63 from the field for 31.7 percent, including 5-of-27 from the 3-point line, 18.5 percent. To make matters worse, LCSC was 13-of-29 at the foul line.
The poor shooting performance saw LCSC drop to 14-6 overall and 4-3 in conference play, which leaves it in a four-way tie for second at the halfway point of the conference standings. Westminster, at 5-2, leads the race, while Montana Western, Carroll, and Montana State-Northern are all 4-3 with LCSC.
What makes this setback particularly painful is Great Falls entered the contest in the conference cellar and LCSC had a chance to remain tied with Westminster with a win. Instead, the Argos beat LCSC in Lewiston for the first time since UGF joined the conference for the 2000-01 season. In the previous 10 games, UGF only came within 10 points of LCSC once on the Warriors’ home court.
Great Falls is now 2-5 in league play and 9-13 overall.
Despite a solid defensive effort, the Warriors just couldn’t get anything going on offense early. LCSC hit only 12-of-33 shots in the opening 20 minutes and trailed 28-19 at halftime.
LCSC trailed 7-0 and 21-9 with 9:44 left, but then held UGF scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Still, the Warriors were only able to close the gap to 21-17. LCSC then scored only two points in the final 4:57 of the first half.
It took nearly four minutes for either team to score in the second half and LCSC went nearly nine minutes with only one field goal. Despite its free throw woes, the Warriors made seven during the opening 10 minutes of the second half to keep the contest somewhat close.
UGF, however, wouldn’t let the Warriors back in and led by as much as 15, at 59-44 with 2:15 left. LCSC did get it to nine at 67-58 with 46 seconds left, but Melvin Williams sealed the game for the Argos with four free throws.
The Argos hit 18-of-45 shots from the field for 40 percent and 4-of-9 from the 3-point line. UGF hit 30-of-38 free throws, including 24-of-30 in the second half to hold on.
LCSC did put four players in double figures as Jared Giammona had 13 points, while Derek Gianukakis and David Johnson had 12 each. Donte Roberts finished with 10. Gianukakis and Roberts grabbed eight rebounds apiece as LCSC had a 46-39 edge on the boards.
The Warriors play four of their final seven conference games on the road, starting next Friday in Butte, Mont., when they play Montana Tech at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, LCSC will be in Dillon, Mont., to face Montana Western.