Defense Carries No. 3 Westminster past No. 21 MSU-Northern
Victory Sports Network
Feb. 8, 2009
Posted by Jason Dannelly
SALT LAKE CITY – Playing a ranked team at home for the first time since November, the Westminster men's basketball team used some stellar defense to come away with a 74-64 win against No. 21 Montana State-Northern. No. 3 Westminster (22-2, 8-1 Frontier) held Northern to just 38.3% shooting, and 6-of-20 from beyond the arc. Westminster also grabbed 33 rebounds and forced 13 turnovers. Westminster is now 9-0 in the Behnken Field House this season and 5-0 against ranked opposition.
Westminster had built a nine point lead late in the first half, but Northern came roaring back early in the second stanza to make it 34-30 at the 14:47 mark. The Griffins then went 13-4 over the next three minutes to put the game out of reach. Nate Sanchez scored 11 of his game high 18 during that stretch, all of which came in the paint or at the line. Westminster held a 44-34 advantage in the paint for the game.
"Our defense won the game tonight," Westminster head coach Tommy Connor said. "This was an excellent game against a very good Northern team. They are very worthy of their top-25 ranking."
Wes Anderson provided a spark off the bench, scoring 15 points and knocking down 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final minutes. Geoff Payne went for 14 points and nine rebounds while Danny Stosich contributed 13 points and seven boards.
"This was a fun college environment," Connor noted. "I'm really proud of the guys, it was a terrific effort and a fun game to be a part of." MSU-Northern (17-7, 6-3) got 18 points from Chris Johnson and 13 points off the bench from Derek Trembly. They grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and turned them into 17 points.
Westminster now gets set for a Friday, February 13 game against Montana Western in Dillon. Westminster is 19-2 al-time against the Bulldogs, including an 89-63 win on January 17.