LEWISTON - It wasn’t easy, but nothing in the Frontier Conference ever is as the 5th ranked Lewis-Clark State Warrior Men's basketball team picked up their 11th conference victory of the season, 23rd overall, after a grueling 81-67 battle with the Montana Tech Orediggers. Ahead by just one point at the midway point, the Warriors used a big second half to gain momentum and pull away for the win.
“We try to win in a lot of different ways,” junior Travis Yenor said. No game is the same, and that was a grinder. We played back-to-back nights; back-to-back 40-minutes games. We are tougher together.”
Lewis-Clark State opened the contest with five-straight points from Josiah Westbrook. The senior guard hit a 3 less than a minute in and followed that up with a pair of free throws.
After clawing their way back and battling to find a lead, a run by Tech put the Diggers in front 54-53, but after three free throws from Yenor to give LC a 58-56 lead the Warriors never looked back.
The score stayed tight until a free throw by Khalil Stevenson sparked an eight-point run. Threes from Hodges Bailey and Westbrook widened the gap to 10 (77-67) by 1:40, and Damek Mitchell closed things out with four foul shots to make it 81-67.
Mitchell led all players in the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He also dished out a game-high seven assists. Westbrook totaled 15 points, Yenor had 13, Bradley scored 12 and Bailey and Stevenson each added 11.
As a team the Warriors shot 46.7% from the field, and hit seven 3's one night removed from nailing 14 from beyond the arc.
“We hit a couple big 3s but we also made free throws,” Yenor said. “We made a couple big shots but it was also the defensive stops that helped us.”
Taylor England led the Orediggers with 18 points. Cody Baumstarck grabbed seven rebounds.
“On the defensive end, we killed their will and that really had an impact. That was a very physical game,” Mitchell stated. “The tougher team won.”
The current home stand for the Warriors will continue on Thursday, when the Warriors will host 11th ranked Providence at 7:30 P.M. in the LCSC Activity Center.