Saturday, April 01, 2023

LaRance free throws lift Montana Tech in NAIA Round of 16

by Daily Inter Lake
| March 13, 2023 10:18 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Camdyn LaRance hit two free throws with 24 seconds left in overtime, and Montana Tech edged William Penn of Iowa 79-78 at the NAIA men’s basketball tournament Monday.

LaRance was one of four Orediggers to reach double figures, with 14 points. Michael Ure had 19 points and Asa Williams 17 — each hit three 3-pointers — while Hayden Diekhans added 16 points and nine rebounds for Tech (29-4).

It was the program’s first win in the Round of 16 and third straight in this tournament. The feat is more remarkable for the absence of Frontier Conference player of the year Caleb Bellach, who suffered a knee injury in the first minute of Tech’s game against Westmont (Calif.) last Wednesday.

Next the Orediggers will play Ottawa University of Arizona Wednesday at 2 p.m. Mountain. The Spirit beat Southeastern (Fla.) 79-71 Monday.

Ure, a sophomore from Idaho Falls, scored 16 points after halftime, including a 3-pointer with 1:03 left in regulation that put his team up 71-68. The Statesmen (30-4) came back with a Chanze Crueso jumper, before Eddie Daley was fouled with 3 seconds left.

With a chance to win the game, Daley hit only the second free throw, forcing OT.

William Penn jumped ahead 73-71 with a dunk from Daley, but Williams answered with a 3-pointer for Tech at the 4:29 mark — the first of five lead changes in the extra period.

The Statesmen worked for a final shot but Crueso’s 3-point attempt missed.

Montana Tech, which boasts no seniors, made up a 33-24 halftime deficit with a 47-point half.

Diekhans, a freshman from Geraldine, had 10 after intermission. LaRance is a sophomore out of Missoula Hellgate.

Two Frontier Conference women’s teams will play Tuesday in the Round of 16 in Sioux City, Iowa: Montana Western plays Dordt, Iowa at 7 p.m.; Carroll College will battle Dakota State (S.D.) at 2 p.m.

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