The Montana Tech men’s basketball team worked out a week’s worth of frustration today at the HPER Complex.
One week after falling to Walla Walla University — a team the Orediggers beat by 30 points the night before — Montana Tech led nearly wire to wire in beating the University of Mobile (Ala.) 65-57 in a non-conference game. The game was the final tune up before the Orediggers begin Frontier Conference play.
“Our guys did a great job bouncing back,” Tech coach Aaron Woliczko said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Mobile led the game 2-0. Montana Tech scored the next 15 points to take the lead for good in a game that also preceded finals week at the college.
“They wanted to have another opportunity to be able to play, and I’m glad we were able to have a game this week before finals,” Woliczko said. “Otherwise it would be looming over their head until finals.”
Adam Greger scored 19 points and Bryan Bock added 16 for the Orediggers, who improved to 8-4 in non-conference play. Tanner Neumann and Quinn Smith scored six, while Daniel Simon scored five, Brandon Rydberg and Roman Pruneda-Garza scored four and Nathan Smith and Paul Egstrom scored two. Travis Peevey also contributed in the bounce-back win.
The Orediggers led by as many as 22 points before the Rams rallied to cut the lead to 37-26 at halftime.
After the Rams pulled to within 37-31 early in the second half, Bock hit a 3-pointer to highlight an Oredigger run that saw Tech build the lead back to 50-37.
Mobile, which beat Carroll College in Helena Saturday night, battled to the end. Tech, using a zone defense once it built a lead, though, had the clock on its side.
“I’d hate to play those guys at sea level,” Woliczko said. “Playing last night in Helena and then playing at a mile high, that really effected them.
“They don’t play against teams like us where you’re changing defenses all the time. Everybody in our confidence has seen it, but I don’t think they were ready for it.”
Chris Richardson scored 11 to lead Mobile. Cole Fountain and Kwame Beard each scored 10.
“They hit some tough shots, some deep threes,” Woliczko said of the Rams’ run. “We had some breakdowns in our zone, but I all in all we did a good job.”
A key stat Woliczko pointed to was turnovers. The Orediggers were able to take care of the ball against a quick, athletic team.
“We had 10 turnovers against a team that creates turnovers,” the coach said. “That’s there thing.”
With Dickinson State joining the conference, league play begins earlier than ever this year. Woliczko the coaching staff will focus on the game plan while the Orediggers worry about finals this week.
Then, the team will leave after the last tests on Friday for Saturday’s Frontier Conference opener against Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.