(Editor's Note: Carroll College Media Releases)
HELENA -- The Carroll College men's and women's basketball teams started Frontier Conference play with wins over Montana Tech on Tuesday at the PE Center.
Carroll College women 78, Montana Tech 51
The seventh-ranked Carroll College Fighting Saints (7-3) ran away with their fourth consecutive win, defeating rival Montana Tech (8-3) 78-51 on Tuesday in the PE Center.
"I'm proud of how aggressive the girls came out after getting back early Sunday and not having a ton of prep time," Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said. "There was good energy and we knew Montana Tech would come in and utilize their guards well and rebound. I'm impressed with the level of focus and commitment to executing the game plan."
The first quarter was back and forth with the Saints holding a one-point advantage after the first 10 minutes.
Then, the second quarter was a different story. The Saints went on a 20-4 run sparked by four straight points at the 6:40 mark by Molly McDermott. The run lasted the rest of the quarter and the Saints did not look back from there.
The 41-24 halftime lead ballooned to 64-37 at the end of the third and the Saints maintained their huge lead to end the game.
Christine Denny led the Saints with 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting while adding eight rebounds. Danielle Wagner and Jaidyn Lyman added 12 and 11 points respectively to help the Saints to the win.
The Orediggers' leading scorer was Mesa Williams with 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
The Saints outshot Montana Tech from the field 51.8 percent to 41.9 percent and were able to take advantage of 18 Oredigger turnovers.
The Saints will look to make it five straight against Lewis-Clark State Friday night at 5:30 in the PE Center.
Carroll College men 82, Montana Tech 78 (OT)
Down nine in the second half.
Down five with 50 seconds left.
Down three with seven seconds left.
No matter the trial, the Carroll College Fighting Saints were unflappable on Tuesday, overcoming a tough Montana Tech team to take an 82-78 win in the PE Center to open up the Frontier Conference season.
"I'm happy for the guys," Saints coach Kurt Paulson said. "They're obviously ecstatic in the locker room. Everyone contributed."
Tech, the giant killers just a few weeks ago after defeating the University of Montana, challenged the Saints in a variety of ways. Carroll's youth-driven team -- save for senior Dane Warp -- showed some of its inexperience but made up for it when it mattered most.
When Oredigger cheers reverberated off the PE Center walls with under a minute to go, Carroll never quit. Tech held onto the ball with 30 seconds left, but the Saints forced a turnover as Shamrock Campbell came away with a steal.
Campbell found Dennis Flowers III and the freshman nailed a three with 22 seconds left to narrow the margin to two points.
"The kid is a true freshman and he just stepped up immensely," Paulson said. "It's so nice having his quickness on the floor for us not only offensively but defensively he is just changing the tempo of the game."
Tech took a timeout and drew up a press breaker, but Campbell still came away with another steal. Jovan Sljivancanin missed the potential go-ahead triple as he was contacted on the play, and the Saints were forced to foul after Tech gathered the ensuing rebound.
Tech leading scorer Sindou Diallo went to the line and hit his first.
The second rimmed out and into the hands of Warp.
Warp raced down the court and drew contact on a three-point attempt, drawing three free throws with a second left on the clock.
The ever-steady senior rattled the first two in. And after a Tech timeout, Warp calmly snuck the third to tie the game at 68.
"I knew he was going to put them in," Paulson said of Warp's pressure-filled free throws. "He had that look in his eye."
While the scoreboard suggested an even game going into overtime, the Saints fans in the PE Center made sure everybody knew the momentum was on the home team's side.
Carroll grabbed the lead in overtime as Sljivancanin went to work on the block. The sophomore Serbian muscled his way inside and then corralled one of his game-high 13 rebounds for a putback plus an and-one free throw.
Carroll built their two-possession lead and held on the rest of the way.
Sljivancanin had a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season, to lead all scorers.
The Saints received 23 points from Warp and a career-high 19 points, six rebounds and four assists from Flowers III.
Campbell added in 10 points and a season-high six assists.
The Orediggers were led by Sindou Diallo's 20 points.
Paulson played eight Saints on Tuesday and all but one scored.
"I thought our kids did an amazing job of handling the pressure they put on us," Paulson said. "These guys beat University of Montana just a couple of weeks ago. They put so much pressure on you and we just handled it. Couldn't be more proud of their effort."
For a team that was supposed to experience some growing pains, the Fighting Saints showed their poise on Tuesday.
Next up, is another stiff test against undefeated No. 14-ranked Lewis-Clark State on Friday.