LEWISTON, Idaho – Ben Walker scored a game-high 18 points, the final two coming on a fade-away baseline jumper as the shot clock expired in the final minute of play, to help Westminster defeat Lewis-Clark State College 70-62 in a Frontier Conference contest at the LCSC Activity Center on Thursday night.
Walker scored four points late in the ballgame to help Westminster finish with an 8-0 run and claim the win.
The victory improved Westminster to 2-3 in league play and 14-7 overall. LCSC falls to 2-3 and 13-6.
The Griffins, who received votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 poll, started the game the way they finished it with the first eight points. After LCSC scored on a bucket by Danny Marshall, Westminster went on another 8-0 run for a 16-2 lead.
“I felt like for the second time in the last three games we did not come out with the energy we needed,” Warrior coach Brandon Rinta said. “We battled back, but they are a very good team.”
The Warriors managed to fight back and eventually cut the lead to three at 30-27 with 3:52 left in the half, but Westminster had an answer and pushed the margin back to 39-30 at halftime.
After Westminster’s Chris Cassity hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, LCSC went on a 12-0 run. Donte Archie and PJ Bolte scored four points apiece, while Ray Stout, who had a solid game for the Warriors, also had a bucket during the run.
Westminster regained the lead, but back-to-back buckets by guard Jeray Key gave LCSC its first and only lead at 46-44. The contest was then tied five more times, even though Westminster had a six-point lead at one point.
The final tie came when LCSC’s Nick Fromm scored on a post-up move with 4:30 left in the game.
Rinta said climbing out of the holes did take a little wind out of LCSC’s sail and the Warriors just had trouble scoring down the stretch.
LCSC went 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-1 at the foul line after Fromm’s bucket.
Stout led the Warriors with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Archie added 10. Bolte had nine points and nine rebounds, while Key had eight points, six rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Key also did a nice job defensively shutting down Westminster’s leading scorer on the season, Jake Orchard, who finished with only five points.
For the night LCSC was 27-of-59 from the field for 45.8 percent and 3-of-14 at the 3-point line for 21.4 percent. The Warriors hurt themselves at the foul line with a 5-of-12 effort.
On the other side, Westminster made 30-of-52 attempts for 57.7 percent. The Griffins were 3-of-10 at the 3-point line and 7-of-10 at the foul line.
The Warriors won’t return to action for another week when they hit the road next Friday to play league-leading Montana State-Northern in Havre, Mont. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.