Story by Josh Fisher, Rocky Mountain Athletics
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain (Mont.) men’s basketball team picked up its first Frontier Conference win of the season with an 86-80 upset of No. 10 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on Thursday night in the Fortin Education Center.
Craig Wilmore provide Rocky (9-5, 1-2 Frontier) the lift they needed to pull the upset with a career-high 19 points. He led the Battlin’ Bears with 10 points in the first half with five points in a 9-2 run to close the period to put Rocky ahead 44-39 at the break.
After Lewis-Clark State (13-2, 2-1) scored the first five points of the second half to tie the game, Rocky mounted a 16-4 run to open a 12-point advantage they never gave back. LC chipped away over the final 12:45 and got within 80-77 with 2:05 to play, but they went two possessions without scoring as the Battlin’ Bears converted six free throws to secure the win.
Rocky shot 50.0 percent from the field with 42 points in the paint. They recorded a 41-30 advantage in the boards and converted 10 offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points. The Battlin’ Bears had 18 assists on 31 baskets and committed only 12 turnovers.
Wilmore notched his career high scoring effort on 5 of 8 shooting and by making eight of his 10 free throws. He secured eight rebounds and had four assists as well.
Jared Samuelson also had 19 points for Rocky while leading the team with nine rebounds. Austin Payne added 12 points off the bench and Danny Betcher had 10 points. Satchel McDonald finished with three assists and five steals.
LC State entered the game shooting 53.4 percent from the floor to rank fourth in the NAIA. Rocky held them to 44.6 percent overall and 7 of 25 from beyond the arc. The Warriors committed 10 turnovers for 12 Rocky points and the Battlin’ Bears got 16 fast break points.
The Warriors had a 47-23 edge in bench scoring, including a game-high 20 from Dana Abe.
Rocky now looks to even its conference record on Saturday when they host No. 16 Montana Western. The action in the Fortin Center will tipoff at 7:30 p.m.