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Westminster basketball: Late first half run propels Griffins past Carroll

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 19 2013 11:40 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY – The 19th-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team claimed a 95-62 win over Carroll (Mont.) in Frontier Conference action on Saturday night in the Behnken Field House.

Westminster improves to 16-4 overall on the season with their third straight win. They are now 4-3 in Frontier Conference games after sitting at 1-3 early last week. Carroll drops to 1-17 overall and 0-7 in the league.

“We didn’t really start the game very well,” head coach Adam Hiatt said. “Then Jake Orchard startedpassing the ball and getting everyone involved and it all changed.”

Carroll opened the game with lots of energy and jumped out to an early 9-4 advantage. Westminster would chip away at the deficit and with 12:15 remaining the team got a hoop from Jordan Hamilton to level the game at 17-17. The two teams would trade leads over the next few minutes and with 8:50 to play it was Carroll in front 27-25.

That would be the last lead for the visitors as Jake Orchard would make a three on the Griffins next possession that started a 20-0 run over the next 4:27 of the half. Tallon Robertson had six points during the stretch while Jordan Hayter came up with seven of the 20. That run led to a 54-33 halftime lead for the Griffins.

As the teams continued to make small runs in the second half, Westminster would maintain a 65-45 lead with 14:07 remaining in the contest. The Griffins would then out the game away with a 23-5 burst in a seven minutes pan that pushed the lead to 88-50 with 6:05 to play. They would coast down the stretch for the largest margin of victory over Carroll in the 33 all-time meetings.

Westminster would shoot 53 percent from the floor in the game and make eight triples. The Griffins dominated in the paint to a 50-28 advantage and they tied a school record with 30 assists. The Griffins had a 36-29 edge on the boards with 11 offensive rebounds. They held the Saints to 41.5 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers which they turned into 32 points and 20 fast break points.

Robertson led four Griffins in double figures with 16 points. He made all eight of his shot attempts and also had three assists, three steals and two blocks. Alex Drecksel had 12 points, four assists and six steals while Orchard finished with 12 points and seven assists. Jordan Bjornberg added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench to spark a 40-7 advantage in bench points.

“We talked about how we can make our teammates better before the game,” senior Jordan Bjornberg said. “We do that by making the extra pass and being unselfish.”

Dennis Mikelonis recorded a double-double for the Saints with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Chris McGrath and Nick Jones scored 13 points apiece.

Westminster will now hit the road for two games starting with a Thursday contest at Dickinson State (N.D.) on Thursday in a rare non-conference game against a conference opponent. The action will tip off at 7:00 p.m. in North Dakota.

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