LEWISTON, Idaho – Twenty unanswered points went a long way toward giving the fourth-ranked Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team its 20th win on Thursday night in the Activity Center, the latest milestone in what is becoming a season full of them for the Warriors.
LCSC (20-2, 6-2 Frontier Conference) hammered Carroll College 96-75 in front of 1,409 fans Thursday (photo below), using a 20-0 run that spanned nearly four minutes late in the first half to build a lead that was never threatened.
That crowd is the largest to see a game in the Activity Center this season, and the largest for an LCSC men’s basketball game since 1,588 fans came to see the Warriors against Carroll on Feb. 10, 2011.
The Fighting Saints (1-18, 0-8) led the Warriors for much of the opening period, but Carroll threw away consecutive inbounds passes that P.J. Bolte and Jacob Champoux turned into quick buckets that put LCSC on top.
“We came out a little bit flat. They were slowing us down and getting us out of our comfort zone,” Lewis-Clark State coach Brandon Rinta said. “Our guys were a little bit tight, but those easy buckets loosened them up. When you’re pressing and trapping the way we were, the game goes in runs.”
Champoux led the Warriors with 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, against the Saints. Four other LCSC players – Bolte, Nick Fromm, Danny Marshall and Derrick Wofford – also scored in double figures.
LCSC out-rebounded Carroll 42-29, and grabbed 14 offensive boards that spurred second-chance opportunities. On one play early in the second half, Fromm snatched his own rebound three times before getting the putback.
“We’ve got guys that don’t get caught up in how many points they’re scoring, and who take pride in doing things besides scoring,” Rinta said.
Donte Archie had eight assists and five steals in a team-high 32 minutes on Thursday. Danny Marshall had eight rebounds and two blocks, and five players grabbed at least five rebounds.
Carroll’s Nick Jones led all scorers with 32 points, and converted 12-of-20 field goal attempts. Dennis Mikelonis tacked on 19 points for the Saints.
Lewis-Clark State’s victory, combined with MSU-Northern’s 62-49 win at Great Falls on Thursday, put the Warriors and Lights in a tie for first place atop the Frontier Conference heading into the matchup between the two teams on Saturday night at LCSC. Opening tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
LCSC and MSU-Northern played last Saturday in Havre, Mont., with the Warriors winning 79-65 thanks to an 82 percent shooting performance in the second half.
“Saturday’s going to be a big one,” Rinta said of the game with the Lights. “They’re one of the best defensive teams in the league.”
On Thursday, Rinta and the Warriors were briefly celebrating their 20th victory.
“The correct answer is that it’s not a big deal, but it’s the kind of landmark that good programs get to every year,” Rinta said. “That’s where we’d like to be.”