Orediggers Top Saints in Overtime Earning Spot in the Final 16

Orediggers Top Saints in Overtime Earning Spot in the Final 16

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By MT Tech Sports Information

BUTTE, Mont. – The Montana Tech men’s basketball team is going to Kansas City. The Orediggers earned their way into the final 16 teams after a come from behind overtime victory over Thomas More 77-72.

The Saints (23-9) reached the final four last season at the Municipal Auditorium and came out determined at the beginning of the game. Thomas More didn’t miss a shot from the field in the first five minutes. The Saints went 8 for 8 and hit all three attempts from beyond the arc building a 19-14 lead.

Wyatt Vieth led the Saints out of the gate with eight points knocking down both three-point attempts in the opening minutes. But Vieth was held scoreless the rest of the half.

The Orediggers (28-4) never let the Saints out of their site going on a 10-4 run over the next five minutes to tie the game at 21.

Thomas More had a 41-34 advantage at halftime. The Saints shot 59.4% from the field in the first half going 3 for 5 from deep while out rebounds the Orediggers 16-12. Reid Jolly led the Saints with 14 points shooting 7 for 9 in the half.

Tech shot just 37.9% before the break going 4 for 13 from long. Michael Ure kept the Orediggers alive with 10 points in the first half hitting 2 for 4 from three-point range and shooting 4 for 6 from the field.

The Orediggers had only trailed four times at halftime during the regular season and were 1-3 going into the game.

The Orediggers charged back onto the court in the second half opening with an 11-2 run in the opening minutes and took the lead 45-43 after Asa Williams drove in for a layup. Williams bad 12 points in the second half and finished with 18 in the game.

The game had nine lead changes and nine ties. The Saints led the contest for almost 31 minutes during regulation.

The Saints went on a 13-4 run taking a 58-51 lead with 8:25 to play in the game.

Williams hit a three with 5:02 left bring Tech within two 62-60. Ure stole the ball on the next Saints possession and followed with a dunk to tie the game with 4:31 to play.

Ure led the Orediggers with 22 points going 8 for 11 from the field and finished with three rebounds.

Thomas More had 11 turnovers in regulation to Tech’s seven.

The Orediggers made 15 of 21 from the free throw line during the first 40 minutes while the Saints hit 2 on 7 chances.

Tech shot 45.8% from the field in the second half and hit 4 for 10 from long. Thomas More shot 45.8% in the second and hit just 2 of 8 three-point attempts.

Hayden Diekhans took charge in the extra frame scoring the first six points and eight of Tech’s 10 including a dunk to put the Orediggers up by six with 3:16 to go in the game. Diekhans had strong play around the rim in the game finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds. He went 5 for 9 in the game and 2 for 3 from the free throw line.

The Orediggers, who went 3-0 in overtime this season with all coming on their home court, outscored the Saints 10-5 in overtime.

Williams finished with 18 points, three assists, and two steals.

Camdyn LaRance had seven points and four rebounds.

The Tech bench had 14 points while Thomas More added two to their totals.

Bridger Larson had six rebounds for the Orediggers.

Jolly led the Saints with 20 points and five rebounds. Vieth finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

Noah Pack had 13 points and four rebounds. Casey George and Jacob Jones finished with 12 points each.

The Orediggers bested the best win total in school history with 28 wins and extended their home winning streak to 30 straight games on Kelvin Sampson Court.

The Orediggers face William Penn (Iowa) who is the No. 1 seed in the Cramer Quadrant. The Statesman are 27-3 and finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in the NAIA Coaches Top 25 and are the Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions.

The No. 4 Orediggers play the Statesman Monday March 13th at the final site in Kansas City. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Auditorium.

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