Orediggers hold off Argonauts

The name Roman Pruneda-Garza isn’t going to jump off the stat sheet Friday night.

The Montana Tech junior guard, though, isn’t about stats.

Pruneda-Garza did a little bit of everything right to help the Orediggers picked up a much-needed 58-57 win over the University of Great Falls in a Frontier Conference men’s basketball game at the HPER Complex.

“That doesn’t really matter to me,” Garza said of his point total. “I’m a guy who is going to try to get guys open. If I have a shot, I’m going to take it. Defense is my main priority. That’s what coach brought me here for.”

Bryan Bock scored 21 points, while Adam Greger scored 18 in a game that nearly slipped away from the Orediggers.

Pruneda-Garza, who is from Othello, Wash., played a huge role defensively and running the offense. He dished out six assists to go along with three points and three steals as the Orediggers improved to 3-5 in conference and 12-10 overall.

With only six teams advancing to the post season, the Orediggers find themselves on the outside looking in. Friday night, though, the Orediggers left their home gym with a positive vibe that things are pointing up.

The Orediggers host struggling Carroll College Saturday night.

“I just feel from here on out we’re going to keep getting better and better,” Pruneda-Garza said. “If we shoot the ball a little better, a lot of games are going to be easier for us.”

The Orediggers could have made Friday’s win a little easier on themselves.

Bock hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half to break a 41-all tie and give the Orediggers the lead for good.

The Orediggers led 58-53 with just over a minute left.

The Argonauts, who beat the Orediggers Saturday in Great Falls, forced a couple turnovers and the Orediggers faltered from the free throw line down the stretch.

Oredigger fans were on the edge of their seats when the Argonauts inbounded the ball with 11.5 seconds left and trailing just 58-55.

Tech’s defense, though, held up, forcing an off-balanced 3-point attempt by Marcel Towns. David Udadigbo grabbed the rebound and laid in a basket. Time, though, expired as the ball hit the net.

Towns scored 21 points for the Argonauts, who fell to 5-4 and 14-9. Naren Maynard scored 12.

Quinn Smith came off the bench to score eight points for the Orediggers. Daniel Simon scored six points to go along with 10 rebounds. Brandon Rydberg scored two points.

Travis Peevey and Nathan Smith also contributed for the Orediggers, who were playing without injured Tanner Neumann.

“It’s just great to come out strong as a team,” Pruneda-Garza said. “We stuck together more as a team.”

The Orediggers have eight games remaining on their schedule. Making sure they get at least nine is their priority.

“It’s a goal I have to get there,” Pruneda-Garza said. “As a team we really need it. We worked too hard for it. I’ve got a love for these guys, and I don’t want to see the seniors not going to the playoffs.”

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