HELENA — Carroll College freshman guard Jovan Sljivancanin admits he plays some video games on his free time.
And during his game on Saturday against the University of Providence, he gained some inspiration from the NBA2K franchise.
Sljivancanin put up video game numbers as he finished with a career-high 19 points and 18 rebounds in the 72-67 Frontier Conference victory over the Argos at the PE Center.
It was just Sljivancanin’s second start this season, while senior forward Matt Wyman still sits out with a knee injury.
“It was tough when Matt got hurt, but ultimately it brought this team even more closer,” Sljivancanin said. “Every game we just play as a unit and we can’t wait for Matt to come back.”
Providence took control early in the first half as freshman post Jaxen Hashley got involved.
He scored 10 of his team’s first 15 points as the Argos held a 15-13 lead.
He fouled out with five minutes left in the second half but finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
Carroll received a spark from freshman Eetu Villa off the bench when he scored a layup down low, followed by a 3-pointer.
Villa, a native of Helsinki, Finland, added his second 3-pointer and finished the first half with a season-high 11 points.
“I just came in ready to be able to shoot those 3s,” Villa said.
The Argos battled back late with just minutes remaining before halftime when they took the lead from a 3-pointer by Jack Taylor.
D’Shea Williams added a bucket with seven seconds left as Carroll limped into the locker room trailing 41-38.
Sljivancanin sparked Carroll’s offense early in the second half when he hit a 3-pointer from the wing followed by a put back to go ahead 50-48.
Not only could Sljivancanin score the basketball, but because of his length, he showed to be a tenacious rebounder.
“His hands are so big and he just has a feel for it,” Carroll coach Kurt Paulson said of Sljivancanin’s rebounding.
Sljivancanin added another 3-pointer and Providence knew it had to start zoning in on him.
“Jovan really stepped up big and hit a lot of big shots down the stretch,” Hashley said. “He played a great game.”
The Argos tied the game with 2:40 left after Williams hit a free throw but that was a close as it would get.
Carroll senior Dane Warp scored down low with 25 seconds left and Sljivancanin sealed the game on a break away layup with no time remaining.
“It has been a tough couple of weeks so I am really happy for the guys,” Paulson said. “They gutted it out for the win.”
Carroll takes its momentum down to Butte next Thursday for a game against Montana Tech, while Providence looks to rebound in a tight Frontier Conference.
The separation between the No. 3 and No. 5 seed is just three games.
"We are still fighting for a spot at Nationals,” Hashley said. “This would have been a big win.”