The Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball team employs a defensive system called the Pack-Line — authored by former Washington State coach Dick Bennett (during his time at Wisconsin) and used by Bennett’s son and erstwhile Cougar boss Tony Bennett at Virginia (which won the NCAA title last season).

The scheme obviously works — and it helped the Warriors, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA, beat No. 8 Providence on Saturday at the Activity Center, where the visitors from Great Falls, Mont., were held 24 points below their scoring average. L-C won 90-71.

The Frontier Conference victory moved LCSC into a tie for first in the league with 12 games remaining. Both the Warriors (17-1) and Carroll College are 5-1 in league.

Josiah Westbrook led LCSC with 25 points while Travis Yenor added 23 and hit a corner 3-pointer with 9:03 left in the first half to give the hosts a 17-point lead. That was set up by an assist by Hodges Bailey, who nearly three minutes earlier had given the Warriors a double-digit advantage on a 3.

L-C went 10-for-19 from 3 in the first half, with Westbrook leading the way with four of those. Westbrook finished 5-for-8 from the outside — but that’s not what impressed coach Austin Johnson the most about his 6-foot-2 guard.

“I thought Josiah, defensively, set the tone on (Providence’s Zaccheus) Darko-Kelly, because he’s obviously 4 inches shorter than Darko-Kelly,” Johnson said. “But we knew that was a matchup we liked because of how Josiah’s been defending and also because it was a different look.”

Continued Johnson, “It’s never smart to put a forward on Darko-Kelly, because he’s too good, so we wanted to keep him in front of us and really limit his easy drives and stand-still 3s. He hit some 3s, but I don’t know if any of those were on Josiah.”

Darko-Kelly led Providence (16-2, 4-2) with 20 points and went 5-for-8 outside — though only one of those 3s came in the first half.

“We talked a lot about how we wanted to guard them and shrink the court and not let them (penetrate),” Johnson said. “They do a really good job of spacing the floor, as you can see, so we talked about trying to pack it in and not letting them space it out, because they’re so good off the dribble.”

Not on Saturday. Providence struggled to gain penetration against the Warriors — and as the Argos struggled to drive, that limited their open 3s on kick-outs.

“There was never a guy coming off a ball screen with a ton of space,” Johnson said. “He was always running into two or three guys.

“We did a really good job of scrambling out of things and I’m just super proud of the guys. Our guys guarded really well for the full 40 minutes.”

PROVIDENCE (16-2, 4-2)

Darko-Kelly 6-17 3-4 20, Stocks 4-6 1-1 10, Cotton 4-11 0-0 8, Fowler 2-3 0-0 4, Hashley 2-6 0-0 4, Thabize 6-10 0-0 12, Wetzel 3-7 1-1 9, Currington 1-3 0-0 3, Olsen 0-1 1-3 1, Butler 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-66 6-9 71.

LEWIS-CLARK STATE (17-1, 5-1)

Westbrook 9-13 2-4 25, Yenor 7-16 4-4 23, Bailey 4-8 6-7 16, Mitchell 3-8 1-2 9, Bradley 4-6 0-0 9, Albright 2-3 0-0 4, Stevenson 2-5 0-0 4, Hughes 0-1 0-0 0, Boyd 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-61 13-17 90.

Halftime — Lewis-Clark State, 52-35. 3-point goals — Providence 9-22 (Darko-Kelly 5-8, Wetzel 2-3, Currington 1-1, Stocks 1-3, Fowler 0-1, Hashley 0-1, Olsen 0-1, Butler 0-1, Cotton 0-3), Lewis-Clark State 15-32 (Westbrook 5-8, Yenor 5-11, Bailey 2-5, Mitchell 2-5, Bradley 1-2, Boyd 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Providence 27 (Darko-Kelly 7), Lewis-Clark State 43 (Mitchell 10). Assists — Providence 13 (Darko-Kelly 5), Lewis-Clark State 21 (Mitchell 9). Total fouls — Providence 20, Lewis-Clark State 17. A — 511.

Edelman may be contacted at bedelman@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2277.

Recommended for you