CALDWELL, Idaho – Leading by only three at halftime, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team shot 65.2 percent from the field in the second half to break away and claim an 81-62 win over Evergreen State College to claim the Duane Wolfe Memorial Golden Rule Shootout Title on Saturday night.
The Warriors, who defeated host College of Idaho on Friday, went 2-0 in the tournament to stand at 4-1 overall. Evegreen State is now 0-5.
LCSC had a solid first half offensively, hitting 15-of-30 shots for 50 percent. The Warriors then took it up a notch and hit 15-of-23 shots and finished the game 30-of-53 for 56.6 percent.
Although the offense played well, it was the second-half defense by the Warriors that drew the praise of first-year coach Brandon Rinta. LCSC held Evergreen State to just 9-of-30 shooting in the second half for 30 percent. That enabled the Warriors to hold the Geoducks to 26 second-half points after Evergreen State scored 36 in the opening half.
“We played well, especially in the second half,” Rinta said. “It’s not that we played bad in the first half, but we just played really well in the second half.”
The Warriors featured a balanced attack with six players finishing in double figures. Joey Wayman led the way off the bench with 15 points, helped by a solid 7-of-8 shooting at the foul line. Starters Spencer Drury and Darin Stewart had 11 points apiece, as did Darious Walker off the bench. Nick Fromm and Jeray Key added 10 points each.
Fromm nearly posted a double-double as he had a game-high nine rebounds, while Danny Marshall added seven boards, eight points, and two assists. Donte Archie had seven assists and three of the team’s seven steals.
“Like I said before it’s going to be like that for us,” Rinta said of the balanced attack. “We need everyone to chip in.”
Rinta said the Warriors started out a little sluggish, which allowed Evergreen to score seven straight points early. Tyrell Stephens had the hot hand for Evergreen as he hit five 3-pointers in the game and finished with 19 points. Overall, Evegreen State was 11-of-35 from the 3-point line. The team took only 25 shots inside the arc.
“That guy (Stephens) made 5-of-11 3-poitners and I think he banked in three of them,” Rinta said. “Evergreen probably had four banked-in 3s for the game. It just seems like they were hitting them from everywhere.”
Evegreen led by as much as six at 20-14, but the Warriors rallied with a 9-0 run late in the half for their biggest lead at 34-28. The Warriors eventually settled for a 39-36 halftime advantage.
In the second half, LCSC used another 9-0 run to take control at 55-41. Evergreen did get it down to seven, but the Warriors eventually pulled away for the win.
“They started missing those 3s in the second half, and Drury, Stewart, and Wayman all stepped up and hit some big 3s that broke the game open,” Rinta said. “Donte Archie did a great job in the second half of getting into the lane and finding the open shooter. A lot of those 3s came off of his passes.”
LCSC held a 39-25 rebounding advantage for the game. In a 53-50 win over College of Idaho on Friday night, LC had a 39-29 rebounding advantage.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Rinta said. “We gutted out a tough win on Friday and then distanced ourselves from Evergreen in the second half. It’s not very often you go out on the road and get two wins. It feels really good to get a road sweep.”
The Warriors will be back in action Wednesday in Boise for a 6:05 p.m. contest against the University of Idaho. The contest is an exhibition game for LCSC, but will count for Idaho, which is 1-2 on the season. The contest will be held at CenturyLink Arena in Boise because UI is trying to have a game there each year for its Boise alumni. LCSC and UI played in Boise two years ago before Idaho’s Humanitarian Bowl game.