LEWISTON, Idaho – The Warriors had multiple chances to score in the frantic final seconds, but nothing went through and the Lewis-Clark State College men's basketball team fell to the University of Great Falls 76-74 on Saturday in its Frontier Conference season opener.
Down by three, the Warriors missed six shots in the final two minutes, including three 3-pointers that rimmed out with about a minute to go. The Warriors later cut the lead to two, but in the final seconds and their final possession a flurry of shots and tips around the basket just didn't quite hit the mark.
"I thought our guys did enough to be successful tonight," LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta said. "I really like our 17 assists on 25 field goals, and we rebounded it well too. It's just a fine line, a very fine line, and we ended up on the other side tonight."
Lewis-Clark State, now 8-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play, led early on and throughout most of the second half, and, if not for an 18-7 run by Great Falls, might have wound up with a comfortable lead in the closing minutes.
"That stretch that they had in the first half I think proved to be the difference," Rinta said about the Argos run which lasted from about the 10 minute to the five minute mark in the opening half.
Statistically, both teams matched up almost identically as both teams shot just under 40 percent from the field, collected around 40 rebounds, and kept their turnovers to single digits. One minor difference was that UGF fared a little better from the outside, making 11-of-21 attempts to the Warriors' 8-of-28 effort.
Brady Bagby, a junior guard from Spokane, led LCSC with a season-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds. Jamaal Thomas, a junior forward from Seattle, had 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
"Both those guys were great tonight. We have guys that are improving, especially those two," Rinta said. "I thought we moved the ball well, (the Argos) were just better offensively than we were offensively tonight."
E.J. Farris was the only other Warrior to score in double figures as he added 14, including the laying to cut the lead to two in the final minute.
Marcel Towns led a very athletic and quick Argos roster with 22 points and eight rebounds. TJ Harris had 16 points and four assists, and Naren Maynard gathered eight points and nine rebounds.
Great Falls moves to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in the Frontier Conference.
The Warriors, now on a three game skid after winning their first eight, will look to right the ship when they host Montana Tech on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Activity Center. The LCSC athletic department is promoting Saturday as Beard Appreciation Night and all fans wearing a beard or mustache, fake or real, will receive free admission.