HELENA — Carroll College made 10 free throws in the closing minutes to pull away from Rocky Mountain College 79-67 in the Frontier Conference Tournament semifinals Friday night.
The top-seeded Saints (26-5) will host No. 2 seed Montana Western (25-6) on Monday for the Frontier Conference Tournament championship. The winner receives the league’s automatic berth in the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
The Bulldogs advanced to the title game with a 91-85 win over Lewis-Clark State.
This is the third straight year that Carroll will be playing in the title game.
The Battlin’ Bears finish 18-14.
The Saints put four players in double figures, led by Ryan Imhoff’s 18 points.
Rocky’s Craig Wilmore had a game-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers. He also had nine rebounds and three assists. Satchel McDonald added 13 points and Jared Samuelson 10.
Carroll closed the first half with an 11-2 run to lead 35-26 at halftime. Rocky had 12 turnovers.
"You can't have that many turnovers unless you plan to shoot the ball extremely well because you won't have that many possessions," said Rocky coach Bill Dreikosen.
A Wilmore basket got the Battlin’ Bears within three, 62-59, with three minutes remaining but the Saints answered with a score from Match Burnham and a 3-pointer by Alejandro Santos Piqueras.
"That was huge," Dreikosen said of the 3-pointer. "We battled back, but there would be a hustle play and they would end up with the ball. It was a good year, I'm proud of the guys' effort."