GREAT FALLS — Rocky Mountain Bears used a big second half run to separate themselves on the scoreboard as they advance to the semifinals. The Bears will turn around and face top seeded Montana Tech on Monday at 6PM. MSU Northern survived a late push from Montana Western and used a big run in the final minutes to advance to the semifinals. They will go up against Providence in the Monday night game at 8PM.
Rocky 82, Carroll 58
Carroll held a three point lead in the final seconds of the first half but a floater from Rocky’s Jesse Owens would make it 34-33 going into the break. Saints forced a turnover early in the second half which led to an Andrew Cook break away dunk, helping fire up his team. But the Bears also got fired up and responded with a big run of their own. Jesse Owens pulled up for three in transition, knocked it down and got the foul. He would complete the four point play and give Rocky the lead 43-40. They would then string together multiple defensive stops until the run had them up 66-47 with 10:23 to go.
The lead would be too much for Carroll to overcome despite 17 points from Andrew Cook and another 16 from Brendan Temple. Jesse Owens totaled 20 points for Rocky. Maxim Stephens, Kael Robinson, and Scott Malikie combines for another 40 points in the Bears win.
Northern 82, Western 62
An early statement was made by the lights as they came out flying. Immanuel Anderson came up with a steal and got a breakaway slam to put the Lights ahead 5-0. A few minutes later, Jesse Keltner received a bounce pass on the pick and roll and threw it down through the contact for the and-one. The momentum didn’t carry as much as they would want it to, though. Northern was never able to get a lead in the double digits. Western’s Jamal Stephenson cut it down to four as he got into the paint and finished off the glass. Northern was able to get it back to seven by half time thanks to a three pointer from Dae’kwon Watson.
Within the first three minutes of the second half, Northern pushed their lead 19. Back to back threes from Ky Kouba, a third from Jackson Burckley, and a fourth from Brenton Woods put Western back in the game as they trailed by just six with ten minutes to go. Woods would immediately come up with a steal and score on the fast break, bringing the bulldogs within four. They would get it as close as three but a dunk from Keltner would spark a run for the lights as they ran away with it in the last few minutes.
Ky Kouba finished with a team high 18 points for the bulldogs. Northern was powered by CJ Nelson with 21, Jesse Keltner with 18, Dae’Kwon Watson with 14, and Zackry Martinez with 11.