Rocky men knock off No. 3 L-C State

2013-01-12T22:00:00Z 2013-01-13T01:02:04Z Rocky men knock off No. 3 L-C StateBy BILL BIGHAUS bbighaus@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Toppling previously unbeaten Lewis-Clark State on Saturday night proved to be as simple as 1-2-3 for Rocky Mountain College.

Don Parham, Nile Finney and Malachi Roberts buried back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half and the Battlin' Bears went on to stun the No. 3-ranked Warriors 89-80 in men's basketball at the Fortin Center.

Rocky used the three consecutive treys -- all coming from different spots on the court -- to build a 58-49 lead with 11:52 to play. The Bears never trailed after that in handing the Frontier Conference-leading Warriors their first loss after opening the season with 18 straight victories.

This is the second time this season Rocky, now 3-2 in league and 12-7 overall, has beaten one of the NAIA's elite teams.

The Bears knocked off reigning national champion and preseason No. 1 Concordia College of California 84-81 on Nov. 9, 2012 in Las Vegas.

"I think in tight situations and when we have to play really tough competition we step up to the game and we make it happen," Rocky's Roberts said after the Bears' latest upset. "This is very exciting for all of us."

Roberts and Parham both finished with 20 points for the Bears. Three other players also scored in double figures, including Jeremy Nicolas' double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

L-C State, from Lewiston, Idaho, received a game-high 26 points from Jacob Champoux. The Warriors fell to 4-1 in league and 18-1 overall. 

It turned out to be a doubleheader sweep for Rocky against L-C State as the Bears led wire-to-wire in the women's game en route to beating the Warriors 65-58.

Leading the way for Rocky was junior forward Brittany Myers. She ended the night with 18 points and 13 rebounds (nine of them offensive) for her fifth double-double of the season.

Teammates Brittany Kumm and Kalli McCloskey knocked down two free throws apiece inside the game's final 1:05 to help Rocky run its record to 3-2 in conference and 6-9 overall.

"We really stuck together as a team," Myers said of fighting off the Warriors. "As you can tell, we need every single player to do their part and that's what we did tonight."

Marisa Morais added 11 points to the Rocky cause.

Annie Kane led L-C State, 1-4 and 4-15, with 14 points.

Rocky's men and women will be playing at Carroll College on Thursday and at Montana Western on Friday.

Rocky men 89, L-C State 80

The Warriors, who came into the game as the NAIA's hottest shooting team, made 61 percent of their shots in the first half and took a 38-37 lead into the break.

It remained a back-and-forth tussle until Parham drilled his long 3-pointer from the wing to put Rocky ahead for good at 52-49 with 13:30 to play.

Finney followed with another three from the top of the arc, and Roberts added his from the corner to complete the game-breaking 9-0 surge.

"It was a very big moment," Roberts said. "We came out at halftime thinking that we had to come out really strong. We usually have been a second-half team, but we wanted to prove tonight that we have a team.

"One of the things that coach (Bill Dreikosen) emphasized was that we need to share the ball and move the ball. That's exactly what we did. We made that extra pass and we had guys knocking down big shots."

The Bears, who outscored the Warriors 52-42 in the second half, had 11 3-pointers on the night and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.

"The one thing that we did well tonight, I thought, is we took care of the basketball," Dreikosen said. "Shared the basketball and took care of it. We didn't get in a big hurry, but we played at a good pace and that's really important."

After the barrage of three straight 3-pointers by Rocky, the Warriors didn't get any closer than four points.

A 3-pointer by Joel Barndt and a driving layup by Parham -- following an L-C State turnover -- gave the Bears their largest lead at 81-69 with 1:35 to play.

The Warriors shot just 44 percent in the second half.

Rocky women 65, L-C State 58

The Bears raced ahead 17-5 in the game's first eight minutes -- with hot shooting and defensive intensity making the difference.

Rocky, which led 31-20 at halftime, twice constructed 13-point cushions (33-20 and 53-40) in the second half only to see L-C State close to within three points on two occasions.

With the Bears up 34-31 with 16:25 to play, Rocky went on a pivotal 9-0 run led by Myers.

A drive by Myers and a steal and layup by Kumm put Rocky ahead 38-31 with 15:40 to go.

Myers followed with another driving hoop and quickly added a three-point play after scoring off another offensive rebound. Suddenly, Rocky was back in charge at 43-31 with 13:37 left.

With each L-C State comeback, Rocky responded with another offensive rebound and basket by Myers, a clutch 3-pointer by Taylor Hurst and the timely free throws delivered by Kumm and McCloskey.

"I'm really proud of the way the girls responded to just about every situation tonight," Rocky coach Brian Henderson said. "They kept their heads up. They stayed positive.

"We did some things tonight defensively that we haven't done all year. I just really felt like our effort and our execution on the defensive side of the ball tonight was probably our best so far this year."

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