(Editor's Note: Montana Tech athletics release)
BUTTE -- Rocky Mountain College and Montana Tech split a Frontier Conference basketball doubleheader Thursday night at Kelvin Sampson Court. The Battlin' Bear women used a strong finish to earn a 63-52 women, while the Tech men cruised to an 81-53 win behind a strong performance from Taylor England.
Rocky Mountain College women 63, Montana Tech 52
No. 20 Rocky Mountain College's strong finish to Thursday night's matchup proved too much as the Orediggers fell 63-52 at Kelvin Sampson Court.
Montana Tech, who held a 23-19 halftime advantage, was outscored by the Battlin' Bears 28-15 over the last 10 minutes. Both teams struggled to score in the first half with Montana Tech shooting just 28.5% and Rocky managing to shoot 27.4%.
The Orediggers (11-8, 1-6 Conf.) were led by the Frontier Conference's leading scorer Mesa Williams who notched 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Kaylee Zard and Dani Urick each added nine points and Zard grabbed 11 rebounds. Freshman Tavia Rooney led the game with 14 rebounds, 10 of which were in the first half, to go along with four points, two assists, and two blocks. Mollie Peoples came off the bench to score eight points. Celestina Faletoi added two points.
Markaela Francis's 20 points and 12 rebounds led the way for Rocky while Kloie Thatcher added 11 points.
Montana Tech returns to action on Saturday night when they host No. 22 Montana Western at 5:30 p.m.
Montana Tech men 81, Rocky Mountain College 53
Taylor England couldn't be stopped in Thursday night's 81-53 blowout victory over Rocky Mountain College at Kelvin Sampson Court.
The Oredigger big man scored 22 points and collected 10 rebounds while shooting 8-for-12 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line. England, a junior from Helena, Mont., had nearly locked up his sixth double-double by halftime.
Montana Tech, who improves to 4-3 in Frontier Conference play and 12-6 overall, shot 50% from the floor and knocked down eight triples in the victory. Rocky was held to just 38.8% shooting and forced into 22 turnovers.
"Anytime our program can get a win over Rocky is big," said Montana Tech head coach Adam Hiatt. "We have so much respect for Coach Dreikosen and how consistent their program is. We defended at a high level tonight and that propelled us to the victory. It was a total team effort."
Montana Tech held Rocky's leading scorer Clayton Ladine to 12 points.
After leading 36-27 at the intermission, the Orediggers went on an 18-7 run to jump ahead of the Battlin' Bears midway through the second half. Montana Tech pushed their lead to 30 points (81-51) with 2:30 left to play on a Christian Jones top of the arc three. Jones scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting for the Diggers while Sindou Diallo scored 10, Dylan Pannabecker added 9, and Troy Owens Jr. and Cody Baumstark each tallied 8 markers. Drew Huse and Derrius Collins score 5 apiece and Connor Kieckbusch scored 3 points.
The Orediggers play again on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against Montana Western.