(RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS –The Rocky Mountain College men’s basketball team will get back into Frontier Conference play this week with a pair of home games against nationally ranked opponents. On Thursday, the Battlin’ Bears play host to No. 10 Lewis-Clark State College. Rocky will then welcome No. 16 Montana Western to Billings on Saturday.
Both games will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. in the Fortin Education Center.
Rocky enters 2018 with an 8-5 overall record after defeating Dickinson State, 73-62, last Friday. They are 0-2 in Frontier Conference play to sit tied for sixth with Montana Tech as the only two teams yet to win a league game. The Battlin’ Bears are 3-0 at home this season.
Entering the week, Rocky is averaging 90.5 points per game while shooting 47.9 percent from the field. They average 9.15 made 3-pointers per game and hit on 37.4 percent from distance. The Battlin’ Bears average 18.62 assists per game with a 1.35 assist-to-turnover ratio. They are second in the Frontier by grabbing 43.39 rebounds per game.
Rocky holds the opposition to 72.92 points per game and they are 15th in the NAIA by limiting opponents to 40.1 percent shooting. They have held five straight opponents below 50 percent from the floor. The team is 11th in the NAIA by averaging 4.39 blocked shots per game and 13th with 57 total blocks. They force 17.0 turnovers per game and sit 23rd nationally at 9.15 steal per game.
Jared Samuelson leads the team in scoring at 19.2 points per game and he has scored in double figures 10 times, including seven straight. In those past seven games, Samuelson has five games with at least 20 points and two 30-point outings. He also leads the team with 96 rebounds and is third in the Frontier at 8.0 rebounds per game. Samuelson is 19th in the NAIA by making 85.4 percent at the foul line and 27th with his 58.8 field goal percentage.
Austin Payne is second on the team at 14.0 points per game. He has eight games with at least 10 points and three 20-point outings. Payne is shooting 54.1 percent from the field – 48th in the NAIA – and has 21 made 3-pointers at 36.8 percent.
Latrelle Franklin averages 13.8 points per game and leads Rocky with 70 assists and 27 steals. He has scored in double figures nine times, including eight of the previous nine games, and has twice recorded double figures in assists. Franklin leads the Frontier and ranks sixth in the NAIA at 5.39 assists per game while his 2.08 steals per game is 22nd nationally.
Chad Kananen is 42nd in the NAIA with 33 made 3-pointers and he ranks 47th by making 2.54 threes per game. Danny Betcher has 12 total blocks to rank 47th in the NAIA. Colin May is 25th in the country with a 3.00 assist-to-turnover ratio.