Montana Tech fell to Lewis-Clarke State 93-75 in Frontier Conference men’s basketball action at the HPER Complex on Kelvin Sampson Court Saturday.
Against L-C State earlier this year, the Warriors needed a bucket at the buzzer by Jacob Champoux to beat the Orediggers, but there was no such dramatics Saturday night.
Trailing 50-35 with just over 16 minutes left in the game, Montana Tech coach Aaron Woliczko pulled all five of his starters.
He had to try something.
“I was sending a message,” he said. “Their the No. 5 team in the country and we played them great the first time we played them, but tonight was the complete opposite. It doesn’t matter who you play, you have to give great effort. We didn’t do that tonight and I wasn’t able to help the team do that tonight.”
The Warriors (23-3, 8-3), ranked No. 5 in NAIA Division I, lived up their ranking, using a big run at the end of the first half to take control of the game.
Jacob Champoux led the Warriors with 24 points, while P.J. Bolte added 21 points.
Adam Greger and Bryan Bock added 17 points each for Tech.
With six minutes to play in the first half, L-C State led by only two, 26-24, but the Warriors outscored the Orediggers 18-9 in the final minutes to go into halftime leading 44-33. Daniel Simon had to go to the bench in those final few minutes because of foul trouble. Simon finished with 16 points for the game.
The Warriors shot 62 percent from the field in the first half, including 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Tech (14-12, 5-7) converted on just 35 percent (10-of-28) from the field in the first half and were outrebounded 20-13.
The second half didn’t begin much better, so Woliczko pulled his starters.
The five substitutes did give the Orediggers some needed energy, but two minutes later, they were still down by double digits, and Woliczko returned Simon, Bock and Greger to the lineup.
Things didn’t get better, however, as the Warriors cruised to the victory, stretching their lead to as much as 26 points, 76-50, with just under eight minutes to play.
The game concluded a tough weekend against two good teams at home for the Orediggers, who lost 59-48 to Montana State University-Northern on Friday. MSU-Northern was ranked No. 18 coming into that game.
Lewis-Clark State College 44 49 -93
Montana Tech 33 42 -75