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Westminster basketball: Griffin men fall in high scoring affair with Rocky

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23 2014 11:03 p.m. MST

Blake Skidmore shoots the ball. He finished with a career-high 32 points in the Griffins 94-90 loss to Rocky Mountain (Mont.) on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.

Bob McLellan

Enlarge photo»

The Westminster College men’s basketball team got a season-high 90 points but came up short in a 94-90 loss to Rocky Mountain (Mont.) on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.

The up-and-down affair featured 10 ties and 18 lead changes, including four changes in the final two minutes. It looked early on that the Griffins (11-9, 4-3 Frontier) may have some momentum as they mounted a 10-0 run to bulid a 25-15 lead with 10:52 to play in the first half. The Griffins made all four of their shots during the run and held Rocky to 0-of-2 with three turnovers.

Rocky answered with nine straight points of its own to get back within one at the 8:56 mark of the opening half. The Griffins got the advantage back to six before eventually taking a 47-43 lead into intermission.

Using a 9-0 run early in the second half, Rocky took a 54-52 lead, its first advantage since 8-5. Matt Strickland banked in a three at the 11:46 mark of the second half to give the visitors their largest lead of the night at 68-62. As the lead swapped back-and-forth, it ended up level at 84-84 with 3:42 on the clock.

After Colton Moon put Westminster up two with a pair of free throws, Rocky’s Tyree Anderson got going and scored his team’s next nine points. The first of those was a three from the corner to put Rocky back in front by one. He then countered a pair of Blake Skidmore free throws with a jumper and then hit another three with 1:09 on the clock to put his team in front, 92-90.

The next Griffin possession was a missed runner in the lane by Jordan Pryor. Westminster would force a shot clock violation on the other end to set up a final possession with 25 ticks on the clock and trailing by two. Skidmore used a screen to get an open three from the right angle, but it hit the heel of the rim and was rebounded by Rocky to seal the victory.

Skidmore had a stellar night for the Griffins as the senior finished with a career-high 32 points. It was the most points scored by a Griffin this season and came on a night that he shot 8-of-16 from the field. He made seven threes on 12 attempts and was also 9-of-10 at the foul line. Those seven threes are tied for second-most in a game in school history, and he also collected a career-best eight rebounds.

Westminster shot 42.2 percent from the floor to score those season-high 90 points. The Griffins made a season-best nine treys as they made 34.6 percent from long range. They notched 16 assists with only 10 turnovers and scored 21 points from 14 Rocky miscues.

Tallon Robertson added 22 points in defeat for his eighth 20-point game of the season. He shot 7-of-16 with four rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Pryor scored 11 points but was just 1-of-8 form three, and Moon chipped in 10 points, five assists and five steals.

Rocky got 28 points from Anderson and 26 from Jeremy Nicolas. It shot 54.5 percent in the second half to finish the game at 46.3 percent while holding a 46-37 edge on the glass.

The Griffins will look to snap this two-game home losing streak Saturday when they face Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). The action from the Behnken Field House begins at 7:30 p.m. MST.

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