LC loses heartbreaker to Orediggers
BUTTE, Mont. - A controversial call on an inbounds play with three-tenths of a second remaining helped the Montana Tech men's basketball team defeat Lewis-Clark State College 62-61 in a wild Frontier Conference contest on Friday night.
Montana Tech appeared to have won the game when 6-foot-7 center Dirk Anderson hit a go-ahead buck with 16 seconds left to give the Orediggers their first lead in more than eight minutes at 60-59.
LCSC, however, answered with senior guard Jared Giammona hit a one-handed floater on a drive to the basket with eight seconds left to put the Warriors back ahead 61-60.
The Orediggers brought the ball up and junior guard Tyree Hanie drove to the basket but missed. In the battle for the rebound, the ball was knocked out of bounds, but Tech kept possession with three-tenths of a second left, which meant the Orediggers would have to throw the pass inbounds near the basket and hope for a tip-in.
After a timeout, the Orediggers were trying to throw such a lob pass when LCSC senior forward Derek Gianukakis was called for a holding foul, which put AJ Paine at the line to shoot 1-and-1. Paine, a junior point guard, calmly sank both free throws to give Tech the win.
Free throws turned out to be a key for the Orediggers as they hit 17-of-18 at the line.
The disappointing loss was the second straight by LCSC to a team that entered a game in last place in the conference. The Warriors, 4-4 in league play and 14-7 overall, have dropped four of their last five contests. Tech improves to 3-5 in league and 5-16 overall.
It's also the second straight game that if LCSC had won, it would be in a tie for first place. Montana Western defeated Westminster on Friday night to leave those two teams tied with Carroll for the top spot at 5-3.
LCSC led for a good portion of the first half and grabbed a 29-28 halftime lead. The Warriors then scored the first bucket of the second half, but then hit a dry spell, which helped Montana Tech grab a 39-33 lead with 13 minutes remaining, the largest advantage either team had in the game.
Montana Tech led 41-36 with 10:38 remaining, but LCSC made a nice run and led by as much as five, 55-50, with less than five minutes remaining. LCSC led 59-55 after Alex King rebounded his own miss and scored with 1:23 left, but Anderson hit a 3-pointer to make it a one point game. LCSC then missed two shots on its next possession, which set up Anderson's bucket and the wild finish.
Senior guard Donnie Lao led LCSC with 12 points, but fouled out late in the game. Gianukakis added 10 points while Donte Roberts and Alex King had eight apiece.
Anderson led all scored in the game with 19 point, including 18 in the second half. Hanie added 17.
For the night, LCSC was 24-of-56 from the field for 42.9 percent, including 4-of-15 from the 3-point line for 27 percent. Tech was 21-of-62 from the field for 34 percent and 3-of-15 at the 3-point line for 20 percent.
LCSC will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday night when it takes on Montana Western at 6:30 p.m. in Dillon, Mont.