HELENA — Montana Tech men's basketball team coach Adam Hiatt said Friday that he couldn’t let Carroll College go on a run.
The Saints showed why on Saturday night
Carroll put together a handful of runs that ultimately led to a 76-68 Frontier Conference victory over Montana Tech at the PE Center.
It was the third consecutive conference win for the Saints and their sixth in seven attempts over Montana Tech.
“I think we knew coming in it was going to be a physical game,” Carroll forward Matt Wyman said. “We turned the ball over a little too much but overall we played solid defense.”
It seemed like no one wanted the momentum to start the game as both teams struggled shooting.
The Orediggers stayed with Carroll for the first eight minutes as the game was tied at 8-8 but the Saints finally found their touch midway through the first half.
Senior guard Ife Kalejaiye hit a jump shot followed by a layup by Dane Warp and all the sudden the Saints held a 22-12 advantage.
Montana Tech rallied to cut its deficit down to five points on a jump shot by Troy Owens Jr. and took the momentum into halftime as Carson Drummer blocked Matt Wyman as time expired.
“I think their physical play got to us a little bit,” said Wyman, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The game became more physical in the second half as Wyman went up for a layup and was fouled hard by Nate Ward.
After a little scuffle and a few technical fouls were handed out to both sides, Carroll increased its lead to 40-24 before Montana Tech found a spark.
Orediggers guard Drew Huse became the spark Montana Tech needed as he made a layup followed by a 3-pointer by Nick Fitts and two free throws by Huse brough the Saints lead down to one point.
On the ensuing possession Kalejaiye hit a 3-pointer and a layup by Warp put Carroll in a commanding lead.
With junior center Brad King on the bench after injuring his leg in the first half, the Saints added some production from their bench when Shamrock Campbell hit Eutu Villa for a 3-pointer and later Warp found Thomas Austefjord for a three-point play.
Montana Tech tried to rally in the final minutes with a 3-pointer by Christian Jones, but the deficit was too great.
Despite the loss, the Orediggers were led by Taylor England’s 16 points and 12 rebounds.
“We have a lot of improvement to do,” Carroll coach Kurt Paulson said. “Montana Tech took us totally out of our offense.”
Carroll continues its season next Thursday when it travels to Billings to play Rocky Mountain College while the Orediggers return home on Jan. 5.