By Bruce Sayler
Montana Tech hit a century on the Centurions.
The Orediggers walloped Yellowstone Christian 100-45 in what turned out to be an unusual wedge game Tuesday night for the Montana Tech men’s basketball team. The Orediggers sandwiched the contest between ones versus two NCAA Division I opponents — having beaten Montana 74-72 in Missoula last Monday, and now readying to head to Provo, Utah, to play Brigham Young on Saturday.
Adam Hiatt, Montana Tech’s head coach, pointed out BYU defeated UCLA Monday night and was to play Kansas later on Tuesday.
So, it was Yellowstone Christian’s misfortune to catch the Orediggers revving up for especially heady challenges. Hiatt said Montana Tech didn’t look past the Centurions in any way, though, another tough break for the visitors to the HPER Complex.
“They had our attention because they play some like opponents pretty competitively,” Hiatt said. “We knew they had some good players and all of their players were new from last year.”
Sindou Diallo’s 25 points and double-digit scoring from four other players provided a chunk of the winning formula for the Orediggers. The defense triggered the eruption, however, Hiatt said.
“We wanted to come out with a certain defensive process and we did that,” the coach said. “We’re not a result-driven team. We’re a process-driven team and I’m happy, right now, with what we’re doing. I like our process.”
It rocketed Montana Tech to a 29-5 command in the first 10 minutes. It showed plenty to be happy about.
“We had some good moments,” Hiatt gave. “And, we saw some things we need to clean up.”
Diallo was helped out in the scoring column by Taylor England with 16 points, Dylan Pannabecker with 15, Derrius Collins with 13 and Connor Kieckbusch with 11. The Orediggers shot 48 percent from the field and limited the Centurions to 23 percent. On threes, Montana Tech was a nearly deadly 17-for-24 and Yellowstone Christian suffered a 4-for-18 fate.
England pulled down 14 rebounds and Cody Baumstarck gathered 12.
The domination began early and by halftime, the Orediggers owned a 50-19 cushion.
They then scored the first 12 points of the second half.
Hiatt emptied the bench and saw little letup as a Baunstarck rebound basket with 5 minutes, 26 seconds left put the difference at 88-32, the 56-point lead being Montana Tech’s largest of the game. Yellowstone Christian never was in front
“We played everybody that we suited up,” Hiatt said. “We have a couple guys out with injuries. We haven’t been able to catch a break in trying to sustain a healthy roster.”
Drew Huse and Barnstarck finished with six points apiece, Christian Jones tallied five, Cody Liles had three and William Mytty also saw court time. Pannabecker and Huse dished five assists each, and Collins and Huse each came up with four steals.
The Yellowstone Christian leaders included Derrian Reed with 14 points and Chris Pendley with 12 rebounds.
Montana Tech committed only eight turnovers for the game and pressured the Centurions into 25.
In games played, the Orediggers have a 5-4 record, but are officially 4-3 since the loss at Idaho State and the win over Montana are designated exhibition games and don’t count on their official record. Saturday’s game with BYU is also an exhibition.
Yellowstone Christian is winless on the season.