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Freshman Taylan Barrett goes up for a layup over a Montana Tech defender as Aleksandar Brankovic looks on during Friday afternoon
Freshman Taylan Barrett goes up for a layup over a Montana Tech defender as Aleksandar Brankovic looks on during Friday afternoon's game in Lewiston, Idaho. (Photo Courtesy: Kylie Centers / LCSC)

Centurions Comeback Falls Short in 89-78 Loss

By Scott Lemon, Yellowstone Christian College SID

LEWISTON, ID — The Yellowstone Christian College Centurions mounted a comeback late in the second half, but the Montana Tech Diggers held them off to pick up a 89-78 victory on Day 1 of the Clearwater River Casino and Restort Classic on the campus of Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho on Friday afternoon.

The Centurions jumped out to an early lead in the first half, led by freshman center Abraham Nyok. The 6-foot-8 Australian battled his way into the paint multiple times in the early minutes of the game, picking up easy points and several rebounds. Nyok, who finished with eight points and five boards, was held quiet for the rest of the game, partly due to foul trouble.

However, the Diggers found their offensive groove from behind the arc, connecting on 44% (12 of 27) of their 3-point attempts. Montana Tech battled back to take the lead at about the halfway point of the first half, and steadily grew their lead throughout most of the game.

Montana Tech found themselves up by as much as 13 points at one points in the second half. The Centurions would go down swinging, however. YCC chipped away at the lead steadily and cut the lead to five with just under three minutes to go in regulation.

Unfortunately, poor defensive play by the Centurions down the stretch and solid shooting by the Diggers pushed the Tech lead back to double-digits late to seal the game.

Freshman sensation Aleksandar Brankovic had himself a day on Friday, pouring in 26 points to go along with three rebounds and two steals. Taylan Barrett and Aaron Munday-Rashid were the only other YCC scorers in double-figures with ten apiece.

John Chapman scored 21 of his 23 points courtesy of three-pointers for Montana Tech to lead the Diggers. Lucas Vining joined him in double-digits with ten points and Flemming Okeke corralled a double-double with ten points and 11 rebounds.

The Centurions will play host Lewis-Clark State, who are no. 15 in the NAIA pre-season poll, on Saturday night. The game has been tabbed as an exhibition for the Centurions, so no stats will be reported. The Centurion men and women will play in their first home double-header on Tuesday night as they host Dawson Community College starting at 5:30 p.m.

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