The Oredigger men prepare for the Saints
Drew Huse hasn't had to pay for a drink for 318 days.
On February 28, 2022, the Orediggers won the Frontier Conference Tournament championship with a 62-61 win over Carroll College in the Carroll P.E. Center. Before we go any further, you should probably watch that game, then we will talk.
The Saints and Orediggers will square off 3 times this year, and all of them are going to be battles. This first matchup though will have a bit of extra mustard. I can only imagine everyone wearing purple has had this game circled on the calendar. Hell, I think everyone in green has it circled too!
Both programs enter this week nationally ranked, Carroll is #24 and Montana Tech comes in #13. Both teams (and every Men’s team) are 1-1 in conference play. The Saints are 7-6 overall after 4 losses in 4 days at the Cactus Classic in Arizona. Their leading scorer through 13 games is Andrew Cook, the sophomore is averaging 17 points a game, shooting 55% from the floor, and 40% from the arc. Jonny Hillman rolls in getting 15 points a game, and senior Brendan Temple averages 12 points and 8 rebounds a game. Temple has been strong this season for the Saints. I understand he may have gotten banged up a bit in Arizona, so we will see if that affects the game Thursday. True freshman Brayden Koch picked up right where he left off at Helena Capital, averaging 9 points a game for the Saints, and getting more and more minutes each week.
The Oredigger men did not take part in the Cactus Classic, instead, they made a trip through New Mexico and picked up a pair of big wins on the road upping their record to 13-2 overall. The Diggs continue to be led by junior Caleb Bellach. The Frontier Conference Preseason Player of the Year averages 16 points a game, on 44% shooting. Sophomore Michael Ure is getting 13 points, and 7 rebounds a game, and Asa Williams is also in double digits with 11 points a contest.
In my own words, there are 2 constants for the Orediggers under Coach Hiatt. The first is Defense, if you don't play D, you don't play. Montana Tech is only allowing 65 points a game thus far.
The second is Turnovers. Montana Tech does not turn the ball over. You had better make your possessions count because you wont get any free passes. The Orediggers lead the nation in (lack of) turnovers, averaging only 8 a game.
I didn't even get to the depth that Montana Tech has on the bench. This is far and away Coach Adam Hiatt’s deepest bench in his time at Montana Tech, and that might just be the single biggest factor for their continued success this season.
The Orediggers continue to make bigger strides every year for Coach Hiatt, and I know he would love a deeper run in the NAIA National Tournament, but the first step, and the focus, is on the Saints of Carroll College for Round 1 of a scheduled 3 round battle this Thursday 7 pm on Kelvin Sampson court.