MILESTONE: U Providence’s Keller earns 300th career victory

University of Providence head men’s basketball coach Steve Keller earned his 300th career win on Saturday, as the University of Providence men’s basketball team defeated Rocky Mountain College 90-83 in Billings, Mont.

The two teams battled early in the contest, with the Battlin’ Bears (9-9, 2-4) taking a 45-40 lead into the break. The Argos (10-8, 2-4) made some offensive halftime adjustments that led to a 50-point offensive outing in the second half. Brenden Howard and Marcus Stephens both scored 20 points in the second half as the Argos shot 62% from the field in the second-half to take control of the game.

“We changed our offense a little bit in the second that freed up our guys a little more,” Keller said. “Brendan and Marcus kind of took over and our other guys stepped up when we needed them to. Dawson hit a huge three, Rashee hit a huge three. There was a lot of adversity but it was a total team effort.”

Stephens and Howard both scored over 30 points for the squad, with Stephens finishing with 31 and Howard notching 30. Rashee Stocks added 12 points for the team, while Dawson Fowler added nine.

“Right now those two have good chemistry,” Keller said. “The other guys were converting and hitting big shots. We need all our guys. I’m not sure if I’ve had two guys get 30 in the same night but it was awesome.”

Six players scored in double-figures for the Battlin’ Bears, led by Abdul Bah’s 18 points. Tayshawun Bradford added 14 points while Jesse Owens added 13.

The win puts Keller at a career-record of 300-155, good for a winning percentage of 65.9%. He recorded 214 wins at Montana Western, before joining Providence prior to the 2018-19 season. He has led ten different teams to the NAIA National Tournament between the two schools, and last year led Providence to their first conference championship since the 1982-83 season.

“I’m honored to get to 300,” Keller said. “It’s not about me because I’ve been surrounded by great players. You don’t get to 300 wins at this level without having great players. We had some great players at Western and we had some great players at Providence as well. And I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without my assistant coaches. I feel really blessed.”

More importantly in Keller’s eyes, the win stops a four-game losing streak for the squad, who have been battling illnesses since the return from the holiday break. The game today marked the first-time in the new year that the team has played with a full roster.

“We needed to get a win,” Keller said. “With all the sickness that we’ve had and not being able to fully practice, it was good to get back in the win column. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as we hit the road the next two games.”

The Argos will continue their road trip next Thursday with a 7:00 p.m. road trip with MSU-Northern.

Tagged with: