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Westminster basketball: Griffins defeat Carroll to sweep season series

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2013 10:44 p.m. MST

HELENA, Mont. – The Westminster College men’s basketball team picked up an important 74-63 win over Carroll (Mont.) on Thursday night in Frontier Conference action.

Westminster snaps a three-game losing streak and improves to 21-7 on the season. The Griffins move to 8-6 in the Frontier Conference and clinch a spot in the six-team conference tournament. Carroll falls to 2-24 and 1-14.

After overcoming the quick start from Carroll, Westminster scored six straight to give it a 21-16 lead with 9:40 to play in the first half. The Griffins led 28-19 at the 7:45 mark. Westminster would finish the half shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and took a 37-30 lead into the intermission.

Westminster would then put together an 8-0 run early in the second half to push its lead to 45-33 just over four minutes in. After Carroll would get back within four at 56-52, Jake Orchard finished a drive and then found Alex Drecksel for a layup. When Riley King knocked down a three from the corner, Carroll had cut the deficit to 60-57 with 7:32 remaining.

Drecksel converted back-to-back layups to make it 64-57 with seven minutes to play. After Carroll scored four straight to get within three at 64-61 at 6:45, Drecksel made another layup for a 67-62 lead at the 2:50 mark. The Griffins would force a turnover and then Drecksel made two freebies to make it 69-62 with 2:18 remaining. Westminster would go 5-of-6 at the line down the stretch to seal the victory.

The Griffins finished the game shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and had 46 points in the paint. They recorded 12 assists and only committed six turnovers. Westminster limited Carroll to 42.6 percent from the floor and scored 13 points from 13 Saint turnovers.

Drecksel finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and also had one assist and one steal. Jordan Bjornberg came up with 13 points off the bench, while Jake Orchard scored 12 points to go with three assists and three steals. Blake Skidmore also contributed 11 points from the bench to help a 26-7 advantage in bench scoring.

Dennis Mikelonis led all scorers with 25 points for Carroll. He added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Jake Hollifield added 11 with Nick Jones scoring 10.

Westminster will look to complete the regular season with a victory when it returns home to face Montana Tech on Saturday night in the Behnken Field House. The action will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a Senior Night presentation taking place before the game.

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