SALT LAKE CITY — The 18th-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss of the season Thursday night as it fell 73-71 to Great Falls in the Behnken Field House.
Westminster is now 13-4 overall on the season and 1-3 in Frontier Conference games after this third straight loss. Great Falls wins in Salt Lake City for the first time in school history to improve to 12-6 and 3-1.
“I thought we played really hard tonight,” head coach Adam Hiatt said. “We had plenty of opportunities, but we just aren’t in sync right now.”
The game was tightly contested throughout as it featured 10 ties and 13 lead changes. Westminster used an 8-0 run to close the first half to carry a 37-33 lead into the intermission. The Griffins shot 40.6 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes and had two makes from beyond the arc.
Trailing 54-53 with 8:16 to play in the second half, Westminster put together a 12-2 run over a two minute span that appeared to give them control of the game at 65-56 with six minutes left. The Griffins had scored eight straight points during that stretch and held their biggest lead of the game.
Great Falls would dominate the rest of the game, outscoring the Griffins 17-6 down the stretch. They matched the eight straight Griffin points with nine of their own and then ran off another seven straight after a Westminster layup. Westminster shot just 34.5 percent from the floor after halftime and were 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Westminster finished the game at 37.7 percent shooting and just 4-of-21 from deep. The Griffins stayed in the game by grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and scoring 11 points from them. They also had 17 points from 23 UGF turnovers but struggled at the foul line by making 60 percent.
Blake Skidmore led four Griffins in double figures with 18 points on a 6-of-11 shooting night. He made all four of the team’s threes and grabbed three rebounds and two assists. Alex Drecksel and Jake Orchard scored 12 points apiece with Orchard getting seven boards, five assists and three steals. Jordan Bjornberg had 11 points off the bench.
Marcel Towns was the star of the night for the Argonauts. He finished the game with a Frontier Conference season-high of 43 points on 15-of-22 shooting. Towns went 10-of-12 at the foul line with three treys and had four rebounds and three steals.
Westminster will look to snap this three-game skid Saturday when it faces No. 10 Montana State-Northern at 7:30 p.m. in the Behnken Field House.