HELENA — The Carroll College men’s basketball team came into the PE Center Saturday with a 10-game winning streak.
And it was going to leave with an 11-game winning streak if Match Burnham and Dane Warp had anything to say about it.
The two combined for 45 points as the Saints held off Montana State-Northern 91-76 at the PE Center.
“We just kept battling and our defense stepped up in the second half,” Burnham said.
Carroll started the game looking like it couldn’t miss from anywhere on the floor.
The Saints made 10 of its first 12 shots to go ahead 27-16 led Warp and Burnham.
Warp started the game off with a floater in the lane, followed by 3-pointers he exchanged with Burnham.
Senior Matt Wyman also got involved with a jump shot in the paint, but the offense turned back into the Burnham and Warp show. The two finished the first half with 19 points and 15 points respectively and shot a combined 59 percent from the field.
Even though the Saints’ offense was shining brightly, Northern started to answer back as it chipped away from its deficit.
Bozeman High alum Adam Huse fueled the Lights with a trio of 3-pointers followed by a layup by Mascio McCadney to tie the game 45-45 heading into halftime.
Northern finished the half on a 13-2 run, but Carroll coach Kurt Paulson said his team will be tested every night.
“There are a lot of good players in this conference so you aren’t going to hold everybody down all the time,” Paulson said. “This team is resilient. We knew once they got down they weren’t going to just roll over.”
The Lights kept their momentum early in the second half, but Carroll regained control when Shamrock Campbell hit a 3-pointer followed with scores by Warp and Wyman.
Northern cut their deficit down to three points, but the Saints would not give up the lead.
Freshman Jovan Sljivancanin came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer and the Saints marched to the 15-point win.
Five players finished in double figures with Burnham and Warp leading with 26 points and 19 points respectively.
“Northern had a great game plan and they ran their sets for 40 minutes,” Paulson said. “They really have some shooters.”
Carroll will move away from conference play until the end of the month and will continue its season up north where it will travel to the University of Calgary in two games on Thursday and Friday.
Senior guard Ife Kalejaiye is still recovering from a calf injury he suffered against William Jessup, but Paulson said it is improving daily and should return to the lineup soon.
“He’s obviously a key part of this team so we need him back,” Paulson said.