GREAT FALLS — The Frontier Conference men’s championship is set. Regular season champion Montana Tech edged Rocky Mountain College 77-76 in a down-to-the-wire thriller to punch its ticket.
In the nightcap, the Providence Argos rode hot shooting and clutch defense to a 72-70 win over MSU-Northern to book a date with the Diggers in Tuesday’s final.
Montana Tech 77, Rocky Mountain 76
The No. 10 Montana Tech men survived a scare in the semifinals of the Frontier Conference tournament, edging a dogged Rocky Mountain College team 77-76 to punch their ticket to the league championship game on Tuesday night.
Asa Williams scored a team high 17 points and Keeley Bake added 15 off the bench to pace the Orediggers. Montana Tech led for much of the contest, but the Battlin’ Bears closed the gap each time.
Jesse Owens led Rocky Mountain College with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Nick Hart and Beau Santistevan each added 14 points, while Kael Robinson scored 11 in defeat.
Leading scorer Caleb Bellach was quiet offensively for Montana Tech, but hit a clutch jumper to give the Diggers a 74-70 lead in the final minute which proved enough of a cushion to withstand late threes from Owens and Santistevan.
Providence 72, MSU-Northern 70
On a night when the Frontier Conference honored retiring Providence coach Steve Keller his Argo team delivered - topping MSU-Northern 72-70 in a thriller and extending Keller’s career at least one more game.
Monday night was also Keller’s birthday.
Providence built a 15 point lead in the first half, before the Lights answered with a run of their own to cut the lead to two. The Argos led 33-28 at halftime.
In the second half, Keller’s team again came out hot and pushed the lead to 15 at the 12 minute mark. But the resilient Lights kept answering and chipped away at the lead, even tally tying the game with just minutes left.
But big buckets and timely stops lifted the Argos to the win and a spot in Tuesday’s title game against Montana Tech.
Jake Olsen led the Argos with 17 points including the game winning shot with seconds left. Marcus Stephens also scored 17 points for Providence, while Sam Vining added 10.
Zackry Martinez led the Lights with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Jesse Keltner had 14 points in defeat.