SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 3 Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team made a valiant comeback attempt in the waning minutes but could not overcome the 3-point shooting of the No. 19 Westminster Griffins in a 95-82 defeat on Saturday night at Behnken Field House.
LCSC drops to 21-3 overall with the loss, and is now tied with the Griffins at 7-3 atop the Frontier Conference standings with five league games left to play.
“They played really well tonight,” Warrior coach Brandon Rinta said of Westminster, which has now won seven consecutive games. “They were more aggressive than us and we just didn’t play well enough to win on the road. We knew we were going to have to give a great effort and play well to have success, and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Westminster made 8-of-15 of its attempts from beyond the arc in the game, including a pair of triples in a 16-5 run in the final four minutes of the first half that sent the Griffins into the locker room with an 11-point lead.
The Warriors were climbing uphill from that point forward, and even when Donte Archie sank a 3-pointer of his own to bring LCSC to within eight early in the second half, the Griffins were able to answer back.
“Their 3-pointers were really the difference tonight,” Rinta said. “Outside of that, the stats were really similar.”
Warrior senior forward Danny Marshall had a career night in defeat, as the Spokane native scored a career-best 25 points on 9-for-9 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks.
Marshall carried the offense for LCSC at times on Saturday in the face of intense defense by the Griffins.
“We would have liked to get Danny the ball inside even more,” Rinta said. “They put tremendous pressure on the basketball and one pass away. When we handled that pressure we were able to get good shots, but there weren’t enough possessions when we had the poise to do that.”
Westminster led by as many as 22 points with 6:22 to go in the second half, but thanks to some missed free throws by the Griffins and some amped-up defense on the part of LCSC, the Warriors clambered back to within 10 points with 1:05 to go. But the comeback ran out of time.
Donte Archie finished with 18 points and five assists for Lewis-Clark State, and P.J. Bolte tacked on 14 points but shot just 3-for-11 from the field.
Tallon Robertson had 11 of his 20 points in the first half for Westminster, which placed five players in double figures.
“Westminster played really well tonight, and they’re the best team we’ve played all season,” Rinta said.
The Warriors have a quick turnaround, as they’ll host Multnomah University in a non-league contest on Tuesday night at the Activity Center before heading back out on the road to battle Montana Tech next Saturday.
“We’re going to have to regroup quickly, and hopefully we can use that game to shore up some of the mistakes that we made tonight,” Rinta said. “Montana Tech gave us everything we could handle on our home court.”