UMW News Bureau
The University of Montana Western basketball squads split the final games of the regular season. By Brett Morehouse & Lowell Peterson
The University of Montana Western basketball squads split the final games of the regular season. On Friday, Feb. 25, the women fell to the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears 89-93 while the men defeated the Bears 78-67. On Saturday, Feb. 26, the women beat the Carroll College Saints 84-72 and the men lost to the Saints 75-68.
Montana Western vs. Rocky Mountain College
On Friday, the high-scoring women’s game was tightly contested throughout the 40 minutes of play. After Rocky went into halftime with a 43-41 cushion, the second half featured multiple lead changes as both teams shot over 45 percent for the game.
Down two points with less than a minute to play, Montana Western was able to force Rocky into missing a contested mid-range jump shot. However, Rocky point guard Kalli McCloskey was able to corral the offensive rebound and the Bulldogs were forced to foul. The Bears extended their lead to four points and held on for the 93-89 win.
Rocky was led in scoring by Dani Hosking, who poured in 25 points. Austin Hanser and Callie Kautzman contributed 20 and 19 points, respectively, and Kalli McCloskey chipped in with 11. With the win, Rocky moves to 6-7 in conference play and 13-15 overall.
Bulldog post players Hayley Pettit and Chloe Mosey led the Montana Western offense with dominating performances in the paint. Pettit scored 25 points and 18 rebounds to complete her sixth double-double of the season. Mosey also tallied her sixth double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Nicole Tams led all scorers with 26 points including 16 in the second half of play.
The Montana Western men faced the Bears following the women’s game. Trailing 47-49 with 15:59 to play in the game, the Bulldogs’ Tyler Hurley made two free throws to tie the game at 49-49. It was the 12th tie of the closely contested game to that point. The largest lead before the final tie of the game was six points by the Bears and four by the Bulldogs.
The two Hurley free throws started Montana Western on a 14-0 run over the next five minutes to build a 12-point lead, 61-49, over the Bears. The closest Rocky would get the rest of the game was seven points as the Bulldogs prevailed in a must-win game for them, 78-67.
Brandon Brown led Montana Western in scoring with 27 points in addition to handing out a game-high six assists. Hurley was also in double figures, scoring 20 points and playing a solid all-around game. Cody Thueringer scored nine and Kyle Perry and Kyle Erickson each scored eight. Erickson was the Bulldogs’ top rebounder with eight.
Rocky Mountain’s Sergio Trocha recorded a double-double, scoring a team-high 16 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Mark Desin was the only other Rocky player scoring in double figures with 11. Anthony Carter and Orlandor Westbrooks each scored eight.
The victory improved Montana Western’s record on the season to 21-7 overall and kept them in a three-way tie for the conference lead with Montana State University-Northern and Carroll College at 9-4. Westminster (20-7 overall), previously tied for the lead, dropped to fourth place in the conference at 8-5 after a loss to MSU-Northern, 64-58. Rocky fell to 10-19 overall and 3-10 in conference play.
Montana Western vs. Carroll College
On Saturday, the Montana Western women’s basketball team finished the Frontier Conference regular season with an exciting 84-72 win over the visiting Carroll College Fighting Saints.
The Bulldogs exploded for 50 points in the final 20 minutes as they were able to turn a one-point halftime deficit into a double-digit victory.
Despite playing limited minutes due to an ankle injury, freshman guard Roxanne Thurman was able to spark the second-half surge by the Bulldogs. Thurman checked into a close game and quickly ignited an offensive run with two rebounds, three assists and a critical three-point field goal.
Montana Western would use the momentum provided by their bench to extend their lead to as many as 16 points before completing the 84-72 victory.
The loss dropped Carroll to 6-8 in conference play and 19-11 overall. Jessica Van Dyke and Jeni Guertin led Carroll with 19 and 15 points, respectively.
Montana Western’s offensive attack featured balance scoring from perimeter and post players. With the win, the Bulldogs finished 5-9 in the Frontier Conference and 9-17 overall.
Chloe Mosey and Hayley Pettit once again dominated the paint. Mosey, the lone senior on the Bulldog roster, closed out her final home game in style with 17 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Pettit completed an outstanding individual weekend with her second straight double-double, pulling down 13 rebounds to go along with 14 points.
Freshman Sammi Bignell led the Bulldogs’ outside attack pouring in 21 points. Bignell’s stat line included a 3-3 performance from beyond the arc and a 4-4 performance from the free-throw line. Junior Nicole Tams contributed 15 points to the Bulldog offense cause while dishing out a team-high five assists and collecting four rebounds.
The first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs will begin on Tuesday, March 1. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs will take a short drive north to take on the third-seeded Montana Tech Orediggers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the HPER complex on the Montana Tech campus.
In the final game of the regular season for the men, the Carroll College Fighting Saints defeated the Montana Western Bulldogs 75-68. The victory gives the Saints the top seed in the upcoming Frontier Conference tournament and should assure them of a spot in the field of 32 at the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City, Mo. in March. Carroll finished the season at 20-7 and 10-4 in conference play.
The Bulldogs fell to 21-8 overall and 9-5 in conference play, good for a third-place finish. Montana State University-Northern (21-8) finished tied with Carroll for the conference title at 10-4 after defeating Lewis-Clark State, 70-65, and earned the second seed in the upcoming tournament.
The game was very physical and a total of 47 fouls were called, 22 on the Saints and 25 on the Bulldogs. The teams combined to shoot 67 free throws and both teams shot extremely well from the charity stripe. Carroll made 30 of 37 (.811) and Montana Western made 26 of 30 (.867).
There were only two tie scores in each half for the game. The largest lead for Carroll was 10 points, coming with just 36 seconds left in the game. Montana Western’s largest lead was one point late in the first half and three points early in the second.
Andy Garland led the Saints with 20 points and nine rebounds. Chase Godecke came off the bench to score 10 points and grab eight rebounds. All of Godecke’s points and six of the eight rebounds came in a key stretch in the second half to keep his team in the lead. Five other Saints scored between seven and nine points, giving Carroll good scoring balance.
Three players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs. Brandon Brown led the way with 19 points, 16 coming in the first half. When Brown was whistled for his fourth foul with 15:02 remaining in the second half it severely limited his usual offensive and defensive game, which proved costly for the Bulldogs. Tyler Hurley and Cody Thueringer finished the night with 18 points each. Hurley scored 13 of his points in the second half and made 12 of 14 free throws on the night. Thueringer was eight of 10 from the charity stripe.
The Frontier Conference tournament starts on Wednesday, March 2. The Bulldogs face the Great Falls Argonauts in Butte, Mont. on the Montana Tech campus at 7 p.m.