UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western Bulldogs saw a 22-point second half lead evaporate but held on to defeat the John Brown University Golden Eagles 85-83 in overtime in an opening round game at the NAIA Division I men’s basketball national tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Thursday afternoon. Lowell Peterson [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="401" caption="Kyle Perry brings down a rebound in Montana Western's 85-83 win over John Brown University in the opening round of the NAIA Division I men's national tournament. Photo by Brian Beard."][/caption] The University of Montana Western Bulldogs saw a 22-point second half lead evaporate but held on to defeat the John Brown University Golden Eagles 85-83 in overtime in an opening round game at the NAIA Division I men’s basketball national tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Thursday afternoon. The first 12 minutes of the game was fought on even terms with one tie and three lead changes. After a free throw by the Eagles’ Jared Johnson at the 7:49 mark tied the game for the second time at 20-all, Montana Western went on a 23-8 run to go on top 43-28 with 14 seconds left. Abel Galliguez hit a three for the Eagles with seven seconds on the clock and Brandon Brown responded with a three for the Bulldogs as the buzzer sounded to end the first half and send Montana Western to the locker room with a 46-31 lead. The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 10-3 run and pushed their lead to a game-high 22 points with 15:24 remaining. Montana Western still led 60-41 after two Brown free throws with 13:20 remaining in the game and looked set to cruise on to an easy victory. John Brown cut the lead to eight points behind five straight points from Galliguez but the Bulldogs pushed the lead back to 13 points after two Tyler Hurley free throws with just over six minutes left in the game. The Eagles responded by going on a 17-3 run to take a 75-74 lead with 1:18 on the clock. Brown made one of two free throws to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining and the Eagles missed a final shot and regulation play ended at 75-all. A free throw by Andy Garcia gave the Eagles a one-point lead to start the overtime period, but Bridger Chambers scored to put the Bulldogs back on top by one point. Adrian Miller made two free throws for the Eagles to reclaim the lead before Kyle Perry and Kyle Erickson made back to back baskets to give Montana Western the lead at 81-78. Two free throws by Garcia made it a one-point game before Hurley’s basket pushed the lead back to three points. With 52 seconds left, Coleson Rakestraw’s three-pointer tied the game for the fifth time at 83-83. Erickson’s game winning basket in the paint with 26 seconds ended the scoring as the Eagles twice failed to get off a shot as the game clock wound down, allowing the Bulldogs to escape with the 85-83 victory. All seven Bulldog players who saw action scored and four scored in double figures. Brown led the way with 26 points, six rebounds and a team-leading nine assists. Hurley added 16 points and Chambers finished with 10. Erickson had a strong all-around game with 15 points, a team-high eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots. As a team, Montana Western shot .519 (28-54) from the field, .455 (10-22) on three pointers and .792 (19-24) from the free throw line. The Golden Eagles also had four players score in double figures. Garcia recorded a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Galliguez also scored 23 points on 7-13 shooting from behind the three point line. Rakestraw added 18 points and EJ McWoods finished with 13. Adrian Miller led the team in rebounds with 13 and assists with seven. John Brown was .413 (26-63) from the field, .364 (12-33) from beyond the three point line and .826 (19-23) on free throws. John Brown (out of Siloam Springs, Ark.) ended their season with a 24-9 record. Montana Western (25-9) matched the team record for wins in a season and advanced to second round action. The Bulldogs play the Concordia University Eagles (27-7) from Irvine, Calif. at 2:15 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, March 16. Concordia defeated Oklahoma Christian 81-74 Thursday afternoon in a contest that was not decided until the final minute of the game.
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.