NAIA Men's national tournament: Carroll, Tech record wins in opener

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Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 11, 2022

Friday marked the beginning of the NAIA Men's national basketball tournament with Carroll College and Montana Tech both earning third seeds in their respective corners of the bracket. Below you can find wrap-up stories from Carroll College's and Montana Tech's opening round matchups.

3) Montana Tech 71, 14) Mid-American Christian 67

WAXAHACHIE, Texas — In Montana Tech's first appearance in the NAIA National tournament since 1999, the No.14 Orediggers beat the Mid-American Christian Evangels 71-67 on Friday afternoon.

MSU transfer Caleb Bellach was a key contributor for the Orediggers with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Sindou Diallo turned in a 14 point effort with 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Through the first half of play, the Orediggers found themselves down by seven with just over a minute left in the first half before the Orediggers surged behind Bellach who knocked down two three-pointers and a free throw to bring the game to a deadlock at 30-30.

In the second half, the Orediggers found their step and worked their way back into the lead with for the first time since early in the second half on a Bellach three-pointer near the opening of the first half.

From there the Orediggers continued to put their foot to the gas and blossomed their lead to nine near the mid-way point of the second
half before the Evangels found their rhythm and from there, the race to the finish was on.

The two teams traded the lead several times over the remainder of the game before Tech's defense was able to lock down the victory.

With the win, the Orediggers men will now face the Southwestern Assemblies of God Lions (Texas) for a shot to advance to the 'Round of 32' at the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday at 4:30 MST.

3) Carroll College 72, 14) Mount Vernon Nazarene 58

HELENA — In Friday's final game at the P.E. Center, the No. 8 Carroll College Fighting Saints were able to defend their home court against the Mount Vernon Nazarene Cougars 72-58.

The Fighting Saints, missing Jovan Sljivancanin to a leg injury that will see him miss the rest of the season, were led by senior Shamrock Campbell who had 25 points and seven assists while going 5-9 from three-point range.

The Cougars and Fighting Saints battled through much of the matchup, but after Carroll College took the lead with 9:48 left in the first half at 16-14 on a Campbell three-pointer, the Fighting Saints never relinquished the lead for the remainder of the game. However, the Cougars made Carroll College fans sweat mid-way through the second half.

Down 48-37 with a shade under 13:45 left in the game, Mount Vernon Nazarene tore off a 14-4 run that saw Kade Ruegsegger can three three-pointers to cut the Fighting Saints lead to just one point at 52-51 with 10:37 left to play.

While fans may have been chattering their teeth, Carroll was even keel and slowly pulled away later down the stretch ending the game on a 12-2 run capped off by an Andrew Cook to take the 72-58 win.

With the win, the Carroll College Fighting Saints will now turn around and take on the sixth-seeded Jamestown College Jimmies (North Dakota) on Saturday at 7 p.m. to cap off the slate of games in the opening round of the NAIA Men's national tournament.