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Westminster basketball: Griffin men snap losing skid with hot shooting performance

Colton Moon dribbles the ball. Moon made four threes and scored 14 points as Westminster defeated Great Falls, 92-76, on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.
Colton Moon dribbles the ball. Moon made four threes and scored 14 points as Westminster defeated Great Falls, 92-76, on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.
Bob McLellan

The Westminster men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing skid by claiming a 92-76 win over Great Falls in a Frontier Conference game at the Behnken Field House on Thursday night.

Westminster (11-13, 4-7 Frontier) shot a season-high 63.6 percent from the field and scored its most points in a conference game this season. The Griffins finished the game 9-of-18 (50 percent) from three and made 87.1 percent at the foul line, including 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) in the second half.

“I thought early in the game we established ourselves in the paint,” Westminster head coach Adam Hiatt said of his team’s early performance. “That gave us some confidence and opened the game up for us.”

The Griffins only trailed in the game at 3-2, and they broke a 15-15 tie with 10:26 to play in the first half by posting a 19-6 run during the next 7:13 of action. The team went 7-of-8 from the field during the run while holding Great Falls (17-9, 6-6) to just a pair of threes from TJ Harris. Westminster took a 41-26 lead into intermission after Jordan Pryor buried a three as time expired in the half.

Quincy Bair opened the second half with six points in a little more than three minutes to carry the Griffins to a 52-31 lead, their largest lead of the conference season. Great Falls answered with 10-straight points of its own behind threes from Harris and Marcus Hurn. Steven Daho got a put-back with 8:49 remaining and suddenly the lead was down to 63-55.

Kenny Woodard connected on a three from the corner on Westminster’s next possession to start the team on a 16-6 run that put the lead back to 18. The Griffins then made nine of their 10 free throw attempts in the final 3:07 to seal the win.

Bair finished the game with 16 points to lead five Griffins that scored in double figures. He made 7-of-8 field goal attempts while grabbing four rebounds and two steals. Woodard and William Walker scored 14 points apiece off the bench to lead the Griffins to a 41-20 edge in bench scoring. Colton Moon had four threes to finish with 14 points, three assists and two steals, and Nick Jenson added 10 points.

“I was really proud of the balanced effort we had tonight,” Hiatt said of having five players in double figures. “It was quite the breakout game.”

Westminster forced UGF into 15 turnovers, which resulted in 17 Griffin points. The Griffins had a 34-26 edge in the paint and tallied 18 assists on 28 field goals. The Argonauts shot 44.3 percent from the field and made 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

Harris finished with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting with seven threes. Hurn added 11 points in the defeat.

The Griffins now sit one-half game behind Montana State-Northern for the No. 6 seed in the Frontier Conference Tournament. They host MSU-Northern on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MT, on Senior Night in the Behnken Field House.