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Bulldogs advance, Brown gets Player of the Year

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldogs were selected as an at large entry into the NAIA Division I men’s basketball tournament. The Bulldogs are led by All-Conference selection and Frontier Conference Player of the Year Brandon Brown. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldogs were selected as an at large entry into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I men’s basketball tournament held in Kansas City, Mo. The Bulldogs will join fellow Frontier Conference teams Carroll College and Montana State University-Northern at the national tournament. The Bulldogs are led by All-Conference selection and Frontier Conference Player of the Year Brandon Brown. Montana State University-Northern was the automatic qualifier from the Frontier Conference when they defeated Carroll Tuesday night 79-70. Carroll, like Montana Western, received an at large bid to compete in the tournament. The Bulldogs' Brandon Brown and teammate Cody Thueringer were honored as first-team selections in the All-Conference team. Teammate Tyler Hurley was a second-team choice. Brown was also named the Player of the Year in the Frontier Conference. Brown concluded his junior year at Montana Western as the leading scorer in the conference with a 19.83 points per game average and also finished first in assists at 4.93 per game. Brown had the third best field goal percentage at .519 (217-418) and was fourth in steals per game at 1.73. Thueringer averaged 14.77 points per game, good for seventh in the conference, and was third in three-point shooting at .402 (66-164) and fifth in overall in field goal percentage at .459 (153-333). Hurley averaged 12.0 points per game and was seventh in free-throw percentage at .771 (135-175). The Bulldogs' Jared Smithson finished his senior year as the top three-point shooter in the conference at .406 (54-133). Teammate Kyle Perry averaged 6.23 rebounds per game, finishing fourth in the conference. Perry also led the conference in blocked shots with 47, an average of 1.52 per game. The Bulldogs' Kyle Erickson finished ninth in steals per game at 1.39. Montana Western enters the tournament with a record of 22-9. It is the second straight year the Bulldogs have won at least 20 games and is their second straight appearance in the national tournament under fourth-year head coach Steve Keller. The NAIA national tournament will run from March 16-22 with all games being played at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. Montana Western will play on Wednesday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. MST against the tournament’s top seed from Chicago, Robert Morris University-Illinois. Robert Morris comes into the tournament with a 30-1 record. In their second game of the season at the Las Vegas Shootout on Nov. 12, Robert Morris narrowly defeated MSU-Northern 78-77 after trailing the Lights 40-28 at halftime.
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