UMW News BureauThe No. 15 ranked University of Montana Western Bulldogs held on to defeat a determined Montana Tech Oredigger team 64-55 in a men’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Friday night. By Lowell Peterson The No. 15 ranked University of Montana Western Bulldogs held on to defeat a determined Montana Tech Oredigger team 64-55 in a men’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Friday night. In pre-game ceremonies, Montana Western honored the five Bulldog senior basketball players; Brandon Brown, Tyler Hurley, Kyle Erickson, Kyle Perry and Bridger Chambers. Brown, Hurley and Erickson have played for the Bulldogs the last three years and Perry and Chambers the last two. Over the past three years the Bulldogs have posted a 42-4 (.913) record at home. Cole Conway scored the first basket of the game for the Orediggers (playing their fifth game in seven days) but Montana Western answered with nine straight points, seven by Brown, to go up 9-2 with 16:42 showing on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs maintained the lead and the first half ended with Montana Western on top 33-25 after a basket by Tyler Miller. Brown started the second half with a three pointer to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night, 36-25, and they still led 49-41 with 10:46 to play after two free throws by Chambers. The Orediggers went on a 9-0 run and when Daniel Simon scored off a Bulldog turnover had their first lead, 52-51, since the beginning of the game. A free throw by Hurley tied the game and AJ Paine answered with a charity toss to put Montana Tech back on top with 3:04 remaining in the game. Miller responded with five straight points, on a three pointer and baseline floater, to put Montana Western ahead 57-53 with 1:47 left in the game. Two free throws by Tech’s Adam Greger cut the lead to two points but Hurley made two free throws to stretch the lead to 59-55. With 32 seconds remaining, Erickson stole the ball and raced down court for a layup and his only two points of the game to secure the win for the Bulldogs. Brown (one) and Miller (two) converted free throws for the final nine point margin of victory. Brown led the Bulldogs with 21 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Hurley had 20 points and eight rebounds and Miller finished with 11 points and three assists. Erickson had eight rebounds and five assist, Perry added six points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Chambers was perfect from the field (1-1) and free throw line (2-2) for four points. As a team Montana Western shot .438 (21-48) from the field, .350 (7-20) on three pointers and .833 (15-18) from the free throw line. The Orediggers had three players score in double figures. Greger led the way with 16 points, Tyree Haynie scored 12 points and Simon finished with 10. Simon was the rebound leader with eight and Brandon Rydberg led in assists with three. Montana Tech was .385 (20-52) from the field, .267 (4-15) from beyond the three point line and .688 (11-16) on free throws. The victory kept Montana Western (9-3, 21-7) in first place in the Frontier Conference standings. Montana Tech fell to 3-9 in the conference and 11-12 overall. The Bulldogs finish the regular season with games on the road against the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears (4-7, 11-15) Thursday night Feb. 23 in Billings and the Carroll College Fighting Saints (6-5, 13-10) Saturday night Feb. 25 in Helena. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.