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Westminster men’s basketball: Late rally not enough for Westminster

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BUTTE, Mont. – The seventh-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team suffered a 75-68 loss at Montana Tech on Saturday night at Sampson Court.

After starting the season 13-1, Westminster has dropped two straight to fall to 13-3 and are now 1-2 in Frontier Conference play. Montana Tech goes to 10-7 overall and 1-2 in the conference with the win.

Westminster struggled to make shots all game and finished at 39.1 percent from the floor. The Griffins were able to hang in the game by making 6-of-15 from beyond the arc and 8-of-9 at the foul line. Tech was able to shoot 51.9 percent from the field and had 30 points in the paint while shooting 7-of-13 from three.

The Griffins got off to a quick start and when Jordan Pryor knocked down a three at the 10:03 mark of the opening half, they held a 23-16 lead. Blake Skidmore then made a trey one minute later and gave the team’s its largest lead of the night at 26-18. Tech would finish the half on a 13-4 run to lead 31-30 at the break.

Tallon Robertson opened the second half with a bucket for the Griffins, and they would retake the lead for the final time. Adam Greger buried a triple at the 17:16 mark of the second half to give Tech a 34-32 lead they would never give up. The Orediggers continued to build that lead and would push it to 63-49 with 4:18 remaining after two Greger free throws.

Westminster closed with a fury to get back into the ballgame down the stretch. The team rallied with a 17-5 run that featured two layups from Alex Drecksel and was capped with two free throws from Jordan Hayter to cut the deficit to 68-66 with 22 seconds to play. Hayter then got a layup with 16 seconds left to make it 69-68, but Tech would make six straight free throws to seal the win.

Drecksel led the Griffins with 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting and grabbed five rebounds before fouling out in the final seconds. Jordan Bjornberg was the only other Griffin in double figures as he finished with 10 points off the bench. Jake Orchard, Hayter and Skidmore all scored eight points each.

Greger led four players in double figures for Tech with 17. Bryan Bock had 16 points while Brandon Rydberg and Daniel Simon had 13 points apiece.

The Griffins will look to snap this losing skid Thursday when they return home to face Great Falls (Mont.). The action from the Behnken Field House will begin at 7:30 p.m.