(RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS – The Rocky Mountain College men’s basketball team begins a week of Frontier Conference play with a trip to Helena, Montana to face No. 2 Carroll on Tuesday night. The Battlin’ Bears will then return home to host Montana Tech on Saturday in the Fortin Education Center.
Both games this week are slated to tipoff at 7:30 p.m.
Rocky is currently 9-6 overall this season and have won two of the past three games they played. The Battlin’ Bears are currently sixth in the Frontier with a 1-3 mark in league play. They have gone 4-2 in road games and 4-1 in the Fortin Center. Tuesday’s game will be a third straight against a team ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll and the fourth such game this season.
Last week, the Battlin’ Bears split a pair of home games against ranked opponents. They secured an 86-80 win over 10th-ranked Lewis-Clark State on Thursday before dropping a 103-84 decision to No. 16 Montana Western on Saturday.
After starting the season with six straight wins, Rocky is just 3-6 in the past nine contests. They have alternated wins and losses over the previous six games played.
Rocky is averaging 89.73 points per game and shooting 47.8 percent from the field this season. They shoot 36.9 percent from three to make 8.87 threes per game. Rocky is 19th in the NAIA by converting 72.8 percent at the foul line.
The Battlin’ Bears are 13th in the country at 18.6 assists and 4.13 blocks per game. They have a 1.43 assist-to-turnover ratio – 13th in the NAIA – and they place 15th in the country by grabbing 42.53 rebounds per game.
Rocky allows 75.4 points per game and holds the opposition to 42.1 percent shooting. They are 21st in the country in scoring margin (14.33) and 25th in turnover margin (2.73). The team average 8.6 steals per game while forcing 15.73 turnovers per game.
Jared Samuelson leads Rocky in scoring at 19.6 points per game. He is second in the Frontier and 21st nationally with that average. Samuelson has scored in double figures 12 times this season – including nine straight – with six 20-point outings. He ranks 21st in the NAIA by making 85.2 percent at the foul line and is 30th with his 57.1 field goal percentage. Samuelson also leads the team with 112 rebounds and is 32nd in the NAIA at 8.0 rebounds per game.
Austin Payne is second on the team at 14.0 points per game while scoring double figures in a game 10 times. Payne ranks 42nd in the NAIA by shooting 54.4 percent from the field and he has scored 20-plus points in a game three times.
Chad Kananen has 37 makes from beyond the arc to rank 40th in the NAIA and his 2.49 assist-to-turnover ratio is 47th nationally. Latrelle Franklin is sixth in the country with 77 assists and at 5.13 assists per game. His 28 steals are 24th-most in the nation while he ranks 30th by averaging 1.87 steals per game.