Orediggers head to Carroll for Frontier semifinals

Orediggers head to Carroll for Frontier semifinals

It took Montana Tech’s men’s basketball team 20 years to win a postseason game.

The Orediggers went to Billings and beat Rocky Mountain College 70-59 Wednesday in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs. That was Tech’s first win in the postseason since coach Rick Dessing led the Orediggers to the NAIA National Tournament in 1999.

On Saturday, just three days later, the Orediggers look to do it again.

The Orediggers (17-14) head to Helena to take on Carroll College in the semifinals of the Frontier playoffs. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the P.E. Center.

The No. 9 Saints (24-6) won the regular-season title and received a first-round bye in the playoffs.

While Carroll took two out of three from Tech in the regular season, the Orediggers won the last meeting between the teams.

Dylan Pannabecker scored 13 points, while Taylor England scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Orediggers beat Carroll 69-66 Feb. 21 in Butte. Derrius Collins scored 10 points in the win, while Nate Ward tossed in nine, Blake Dittman and Troy Owens Jr. each scored seven, and Nick Fitts and Drew Huse tossed in six apiece.

England scored 16 points and grabbed 11 boards in the win at Rocky. The Helena native scored a total of 38 points in Tech’s two losses to Carroll this season, both in Helena. The Saints beat Tech 76-68 Dec. 29 and 79-61 Jan. 15.

Carroll has been playing without injured Matt Wyman since Feb. 1. Wyman, who averages 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, warmed up last week in Butte, so the Orediggers are not sure if they’ll see him on Saturday.

Match Burnham leads the Saints with 20 points per game. Dane Warp tosses in 17.7 points per game, while Ife Kalejaiye is scoring at a 12.8 clip.

MSU-Northern will play at Lewis-Clark State College in the other semifinal matchup.

The championship game will be played Tuesday night. The highest remaining seed will host the game. The Orediggers are the lowest remaining seed, so the game cannot be in Butte.

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