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Ward Owens Jr.

Nate Ward (left) and Troy Owens Jr. (right) will add depth to the Orediggers' backcourt in upcoming men's basketball season. Both transfers, Ward comes to Butte from Eastern Arizona College, while Owens Jr. comes from Sacramento City College. 

Montana Tech provided photo

BUTTE — Montana Tech’s backcourt just got deeper.

The Orediggers added two players to the men’s basketball roster, with transfers Nate Ward and Troy Owens Jr. signing to join the program, the school announced Tuesday.

“Troy and Nate are huge additions to our program,” head coach Adam Hiatt said in a release. “They both are extremely talented, competitive, and high character individuals.”

Owens Jr. is coming off a sophomore season at Sacramento City College, where he averaged 20.6, eight rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 40.5 percent from 3-point range.

He was named first team All-Conference and helped lead the Rams to a fourth place finish in the Big 8 Conference.

“Troy can really score from all three levels, is strong around the rim, and will rebound and defend as well as any guard in our conference,” Hiatt said of the Sacramento native. “He can create his own shot, or one for his team, and has incredible speed up and down the floor.”

Ward, a point guard from Washington, finished his first season at Eastern Arizona College with averages of 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

He had at least five assists in 13 games last season and scored a season-high 29 points against Arizona Western College.

“Nate is always in control of the game and is an elite point guard,” Hiatt said. “He has a natural feel for what his team needs, whether that is scoring or getting the right teammate touches. His ability to make plays for our team will be significant."

Before his time at Eastern Arizona College, Ward led Curtis High School (Washington) to a 69-17 record over three seasons, with three league titles and a fourth place finish at the AAAA Washington state basketball tournament.

In all, Tech returns 10 players from last year’s squad. The two transfers join Connor Kieckbusch, a Billings Senior guard, as the newest additions to the Tech basketball program, which is coming off a 13-17 season with a 4-14 conference record.

“Troy and Nate are great fits for what we have built and will be instrumental in helping our program reach contender status this upcoming season,” Hiatt said.

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