Uhana Ochan

Uhana Ochan catches the lob before slamming it home on a fastbreak during the Wildcats’ Thursday, Jan. 9 bout.

A showdown between a pair of Mon-Dak Conference heavy hitters came down to the final seconds when North Dakota State College of Science hosted Williston State College.

The Tetons trailed by three with 15 seconds left and got a pair of 3-pointers up, but both of them were off the mark as the Wildcats pulled out the 75-72 win on Thursday, Jan. 9.

“It’s (always fun) when we play Williston,” NDSCS coach Stu Engen said. “It was just a gritty game.”

Williston threatened the entire way and a pair of unlikely plays put them in striking range to take the lead in the final minute. A loose ball went flying under the hoop where Shae Linton-Brown was waiting under the hoop for the layup. Linton-Brown, who led the Tetons with 17 off the bench, got another lucky bounce 10 seconds later off a missed 3-pointer to make it a one-point game.

“They had two kind of fluke plays and they had that loose ball where we’re diving and diving and the ball’s getting kicked around and the ball ends up in their hands underneath the basket,” Engen said. “A couple things made it almost like it wasn’t meant to be and our guys hung on and just had enough to get over the top.”

Marquise Holloman was fouled with 15.7 seconds left on the clock and sank both free throws to get the lead back to three, forcing Williston to try shoot the deep ball to tie it on their final possession.

Holloman made the biggest shots of the night, but Khari Broadway stole the show in the conference opener. The freshman willed his team with six points in a row down the stretch to give them a 73-68 lead prior to the pair of Williston buckets. Four of the points came on midrange pull-ups and he also buried two free throws in the one-man run.

Broadway led Science in points (20), assists (five) and even rebounds (nine) from his point guard position. His biggest role in the victory was slowing down Williston’s star guard, Eden Holt. Broadway held his matchup three points below his average with 16 on the night and just below 50 percent shooting from the field.

“Khari’s our leader, one of our best defenders, gets to the rack and is strong with the ball,” Engen said. “I don’t know if he was at his absolute best tonight, but he was really key defensively on their point guard who’s a heck of a player. He looked a lot less like a player that he normally does and that had to do with Broadway.”

The second leading scorer for NDSCS was Duoth Gach, who was battling a tailbone injury suffered last weekend. His 18 points were even more crucial considering Noble Cooper, Science’s leading scorer, was kept out of the lineup with an ankle injury.

“Basically without practicing the whole week long and (for Gach) to come and give us the line he gave us was huge,” Engen said.

Next up for the Wildcats (13-2) is a 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12 battle with the Miles Community College Pioneers.

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