LEWISTON, Idaho - Senior Darin Stewart made four 3-pointer attempts to lead an outside barrage to help the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team defeat University of Montana Western 75-63 in Frontier Conference action at the LCSC Activity Center on Saturday night.
The Warriors, 15-8 overall and 4-5 in league play, hit 11 3-pointers on the night in one of their best offensive showings of the season. It also sent the 1,131 fans in attendance home happy with a coupon for a free cheeseburger for making 10 or more 3-pointers in a game.
The win was especially gratifying for LCSC because it came against the No. 2 team in the conference. Montana Western falls to 18-7 overall and 6-3 in conference play. Western defeated the Warriors in Dillon, Mont., to kick off conference play. In that game, LCSC had the lead in the second half, but wound up scoring only two points during a nine-minute stretch.
This night, the Warriors didn’t have such a problem. Six players hit at least one 3-pointer in the game, and five players finished in double figures. LCSC also had a 42-25 rebounding advantage, including 18 offensive rebounds. In the first half alone, LCSC had 10 offensive rebounds while Western had 10 rebounds total.
To add to the Bulldogs’ miseries, senior guard Brandon Brown, the conference’s leading scorer at nearly 23 points a game, turned out to be his own worst enemy and spent the night in foul trouble. Brown was whistled for three offensive fouls. He still finished with a game-high 17 points, but only four in the second half.
LCSC had a 29-27 lead when Brown picked up his third foul of the first half with 4:47 remaining. With Brown on the bench, the Warriors closed the half with a 13-7 run for a 42-34 advantage. It could have been much worse but Kyle Erickson hit a fastbreak 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring the lead down to single digits.
With the outside game clicking, it helped create some space inside for the Warriors as well. PJ Bolte and Donny Marshall took advantage and combined for 10 of the 13 points during the key first-half run.
Western cut the lead to six to start the second half, but Stewart pushed the lead back to double digits with a 3-pointer. Western again rallied and had the lead down to seven at 59-52, but Spencer Drury hit a pair of 3s and Donte Archie added a 3-pointer and the Warriors again were back to a double-digit lead. Western didn’t get closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Bolte led the Warriors with 13 points, eight rebounds, one steal, and one assist, while Stewart had all 12 of his points from the arc. Archie added 11, while Nick Fromm and Marshall had 10 each. Fromm went 4-for-4 from the field and also had five rebounds, while Marshall had seven boards. Both drew praise from Warrior coach Brandon Rinta.
Jeray Key led LCSC with four assists, while Archie and Joey Wayman had two steals apiece.
LCSC finished the game 28-of-64 from the field for 43.8 percent and was 11-of-25 from the 3-point line for 44 percent. Western was 25-of-51 for 49 percent and 6-of-16 from the 3-point line for 37.5 percent.
LCSC’s bench outscored the Bulldog bench 27-8.
The Warriors will now play their next three games on the road, starting next Thursday with a contest against Carroll College in Helena, Mont. The Warriors then travel to Billings to face Rocky Mountain next Saturday. On Feb. 18, LCSC will be in Salt Lake to take on Westminster.