HELENA, Mont. – Zach Taylor scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Carroll College men’s basketball team to a 71-66, non-conference win over NCAA Division-II foe MSU Billings, Tuesday evening in Helena.
The Saints scored first in the game but the Yellowjackets took a 12-8 lead with 12:13 left in the first half. Carroll then answered with six straight points, capped off with a layup by Zayne Kirkendoll to give the Saints a 14-12 lead with 10:04 left in the first half.
The Saints would never trail again.
Carroll built on their lead and took a 32-23 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.
Second half would be a series of runs with the Yellowjackets cutting the Carroll lead before the Saints would make a run and extend the lead to double-digits again.
MSU Billings cut the lead to one with just over five minutes to play but the Saints extended their lead back to eight on two Kirkendoll free throws before a half-court shot for MSUB at the buzzer set the score at 71-66.
Taylor, the returning Frontier Conference freshman of the year, shined. He was 9-14 from the field and 9-11 from the line.
“It was a big time performance by Zach Taylor on both ends of the floor,” Head coach Carson Cunningham said. “To have a point guard with his savvy, skill and grit is priceless.”
Cunningham was pleased with the all-around team effort, especially with a few things that the fans at the PE Center didn’t even see.
“There are so many things that go unnoticed that the team is doing well,” Cunningham said. “The guys are really talking and communicating. We were a lot more patient and better with our shots.”
Cunningham knows that you have to keep perspective, even after a big win over a D-II school.
“We just have to not get too high after a win and not too low after losses,” Cunningham said. “This was a great win over an in-state school but we need to start looking ahead.”
The Saints are now 4-1 on the season. The game was the first action for MSUB but will be considered an exhibition game for the Yellowjackets. Carroll next travels to Indiana for three games, starting with Purdue on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. MST.
HELENA, Mont. – Carroll College basketball hosts Montana State University Billings in men’s and women’s basketball, Tuesday evening at the PE Center.
The Yellowjackets play in Helena for the first time since 1997. Formerly Eastern Montana College, MSUB was in the Frontier Conference until 1988.
The women begin the action at 5:30.
“It is a great opportunity for us to get MSUB here on our home court,” head coach Rachelle Sayers said. “They are a very good team, Coach Woodin has done a great job over there for a lot of years, and like us, they have a roster full of Montana players. “
The MSU-Billings women finished last season 25-8 and won the Great Northwest title. The Yellowjackets present a big challenge to the Saints.
“They are a top Div II team that made it to the Sweet 16 in their National Tournament a season ago,” Sayers said. “We are looking forward to the matchup and excited to see where we are, as a team.”
The 3-1 Saints men return home after two games in North Dakota. The men’s game tips at 7:30 p.m.
The MSUB men ended the 2013-14 season with a 12-15 record but beat Carroll 65-60 in Billings.
“I’m excited to have MSU-B here,” head coach Carson Cunningham said. “They have a really strong tradition. It is good to have an early season marquee matchup here at Carroll College.”
The men’s game will get a little bit spooky. With Halloween just around the corner, the Carroll Crazies are turning the PE Center into Halloween Town. Children under 10 in costume can “Trick or Treat” at halftime.
There will also be a costume contest for anyone, of all ages, that dresses for the occasion.
For those unable to attend, the game will broadcast starting at 5:15 on ESPNMontana.com and Classy 950 AM in Helena. Voice of the Saints Jason Walker will provide play-by-play. Coach Gary Turcott will provide color commentary for the men’s game.
JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Zach Taylor scored a team-high 15 points and Nick Williams added 10 but the Carroll College Saints fell to the University of Jamestown (N.D.) 73-64 on the road Saturday evening.
The Saints outscored the Jimmies 35-32 in the second half but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 41-29 first half deficit.
Carroll cut the lead to four with under two minutes remaining Jamestown rallied to close out the game with the nine-point victory.
The Saints fall to 3-1 on the season and return home to face MSU-Billings at the PE Center on Tuesday evening. The Saints women play at 5:30 and the men take the court at 7:30.
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Carroll College trailed Valley City State by as much as 14 points but closed the game with a 21-6 run to earn a 63-60 road victory and move to 3-0 on the season.
“It was a hard fought affair,” Carroll head coach Carson Cunningham said. “We had a lot of shots that we felt like good shots that didn’t go down, but our defense played tremendously and kept the game close enough that we could make that run.”
The Saints took an early 5-0 lead on buckets from Jon Pulsifer and Ryan Imhoff on the first two Carroll possessions.
The Vikings battled back and both teams traded leads until the 8:38 mark in the first half when the score was tied 19-19. Valley City then went on a 7-0 run to kick off a scoring spree that gave them a 38-24 lead with 1:47 left in the first half.
“We were bouncing around like hot atoms,” Cunningham said. “It was the first road game of the season and for much of our team it was the first college road game ever. We had to slow down a little and get our feet under us. It was nice to see them do that in the second half.”
The Vikings held a 40-27 lead at the break and held a double digit lead most of the second half before the saints started to chip away at the lead with just under ten minutes left in the game.
“We told the guys that it can be alternate universe on the road,” Cunningham said. “We got a little discombobulated but we kept working and played exceptional defense.”
The Carroll defense held the Vikings to 20 points in the second half.
Zach Taylor led the Saints with 17 points and Imhoff added 13 points. Logan Franco da Silveira tallied a game-high nine rebounds.
Taylor scored 14 of his 17 points after the half, including seven points from the free throw line, to spur the Carroll run.
“Zach had a really good second half,” Cunningham said. “In the first half he didn’t play like we know he can but he came back after the break was very assertive. He attacked and is paid dividends at the line.”
The Saints close out their North Dakota road trip at the University of Jamestown Saturday evening.
By Kyle Sample - Independent Record
A tardigrade is a micro-animal with eight legs that can withstand extreme conditions.
For instance, the tardigrade can combat boiling water, extreme cold and nuclear winter, thrive in pressures far greater than the deepest ocean trenches can provide and live without food or water for more than 10 years.
It is an extremophile — and the model for the Carroll College men’s basketball team.
Though second-year coach Carson Cunningham readily admits his team has a long way to go to replicate the fortitude of the tardigrade, he had a hard time arguing his team didn’t make strides following its 95-68 win over Northwest Indian College at the PE Center on Saturday night.
Interested in playing basketball for Carroll? Fill out this questionnaire, send it in, and let Coach Cunningham know that you're serious about playing for the Saints!