BUTTE — A battle for first place in the Frontier Conference standings lived up to the hype on Thursday night.
The No. 12 Montana Tech men survived a furious rally from Providence — one that saw the Argos erase a 46-31 halftime deficit and eventually force overtime — to ultimately seal a 94-87 win, move to 18-3 overall and 7-2 in league play, and take sole possession of the top spot in the Frontier.
In a game that saw everything from multiple flopping fouls to Providence's Sam Vining hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:26 remaining in regulation to give the Argos the lead for the first time since the opening possession of the game, Tech's Camdyn Larance eventually found himself at the free throw line with the game tied at 80 and less than two seconds remaining in the fourth.
Both potentially game-winning attempts were off, and the game headed to an extra frame where a layup from Tech's Hayden Diekhans gave the Orediggers a 91-87 lead in the final two minutes. Diekhans then scored another layup with 26 seconds left to make it 93-87 and ice a game that Tech seemed to have sealed at halftime.
Six Tech players eclipsed double digits in scoring: Caleb Bellach (18), Michael Ure (15), Diekhans had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Bridger Larson (14), Asa Williams (12) and Chrishon Dixon (12). Keeley Bake added 9 points for the Orediggers.
Providence (12-10, 6-3) saw four players score in double digits with Eric Milner dropping in a game-high 22 points, Davien Harris-Williams notching 20, Marcus Stephens adding 15 and Kenny Curtis chipping in with 10.
In the women's game, the Argos opened with a 12-0 run in the first four minutes and then kept Tech at arms length the remainder of the game to walk away with a 74-61 win and earn their second win in three games.
The Argos improved to 13-9 overall and 3-6 in the Frontier while Tech dropped to 6-13 overall and 2-7 in league play. The Orediggers have dropped four straight conference games after winning back-to-back contests earlier this month.
Three Providence players scored in double figures as Reed Hazard had a game-high 23, Maddy Dixon scored 20 on 7-of-9 shooting and Brooklyn Harn added 10.
The Orediggers were paced by 13 points from Aubrie Rademacher, 12 from Tavia Rooney, 11 from Ally Cleverly and 10 from Dani Urick.
The Montana Tech men and women travel to Havre for a matchup with MSU-Northern on Saturday while the Argos will host Carroll College that same day.