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Men's basketball splits with Carroll, UGF

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western was on the road Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, to Helena and Great Falls. The Bulldogs narrowly escaped with a 77-74 win against the Carroll College Saints (1-20, 0-10) on Friday. In Saturday’s game, the University of Great Falls (15-10, 6-5) avenged a previous loss to Montana Western, 59-71 on Jan. 12, with a 68-66 overtime victory.

For the second straight weekend, Jordan Overstreet had a career-high 30 points. He was aided by Jake Owsley’s 15 points in the Bulldogs’ 77-74 win against Carroll.

The Saints jumped out to an 8-0 lead and continued to gain momentum, going up by as much as 13. The Bulldogs cut it back within four points thanks to three consecutive long balls with 2:50 remaining. Carroll held off the comeback and headed into the break with a 40-36 edge.

Carroll shot a blistering 60 percent (15-25) from the floor and 58 percent (7-12) behind the arc compared to Montana Western’s 50 (12-24) and 44 percent (7-16). Overstreet led all scorers with 18 points.

In the second half, the Saints increased their lead to nine before the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run at the 13:01 mark. An Owsley free-throw gave the Bulldogs the lead for good with 7:49 remaining. The Bulldogs hit six of eight free-throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the 77-74 win.

Overstreet went 9-13 from the field, 6-10 behind the arc and 6-9 from the line for his career-tying 30 points. Owsley’s 15 points included a perfect seven of seven from the free-throw line. He also pulled down five rebounds and kicked out five assists.

The Bulldogs also got seven points and six rebounds from Tyler Miller, seven points from Maazin Butler, four assists from Kris Collins and six rebounds from Kris Castro.

Nick Jones led Carroll with 18 points and three assists followed by Chris McGrath and Brett Ball with 15 each and Dennis Mikelonis with 13. Jake Hollifield contributed 11 rebounds and three assists.

For the game, Carroll shot 51 percent (27-53) from the floor, 55 percent (11-20) on three-pointers and 82 percent (9-11) from the charity stripe. Montana Western was 49 percent (23-47), 41 percent (12-29) and 87 percent (19-22).

On Saturday, Montana Western and the University of Great Falls Argos traded baskets and leads for an even Frontier Conference match-up. The largest lead in the first half was six, held by Great Falls at the 13:34 and 0:09 marks. A Maazin Butler three-pointer was good for the Bulldogs at the buzzer to cut the halftime deficit to three (31-34).

In the second half, the Bulldogs took over the lead within three minutes. They stretched it to seven twice but could not pull away. With seven seconds remaining, Great Falls’ TJ Harris sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 64.

Four points in overtime was enough to give Great Falls the 68-66 victory. The Bulldogs missed five baskets and their lone points came from two Jordan Overstreet free-throws.

Montana Western was led by Overstreet and Tyler Miller with 14 points apiece, Jake Owsley’s fifth double-double on the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Gabe Rucker’s seven assists and three steals.

James Holmes led Great Falls with 22 points followed by TJ Harris with 19. Naren Maynard pulled down 10 rebounds while Harris dished four assists.

Neither team had a great offensive showing as they both shot 39 percent from the floor (22-57 for Montana Western and 24-61 for Great Falls). The Argos were better from behind the arc at 32 percent (6-19) and the free-throw line at 82 percent (14-17) compared to the Bulldogs’ 29-(7-24) and 75-percent shooting (15-20).

The Bulldogs (16-8, 6-5) remain tied for fourth place with Great Falls in the Frontier Conference standings. First place is a three-way tie between Lewis-Clark State, MSU-Northern and Westminster, all with 7-3 conference records.

This weekend, Bulldog fans can catch some home action on Saturday, Feb. 9 when the Westminster Griffins come to town for a big 7:30 p.m. match-up. Last weekend, the 19th ranked Griffins hosted and beat Rocky Mountain (85-71) and third- ranked Lewis-Clark State (95-82). Montana Western will look to pull even in the standings and revenge an 84-63 loss from Dec. 1.