Erickson, Brown and Hurley key Bulldog victory

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldogs moved into first place by defeating the Montana State-Northern Lights 89-75 in a men’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Saturday night. By Lowell Peterson  The University of Montana Western Bulldogs moved into first place by defeating the Montana State-Northern Lights 89-75 in a men’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Saturday night. The 89 points were the most scored in a game against MSU-Northern this season. The Lights entered the game as the leading defensive team in NAIA Division I allowing just 56.1 points a game overall and 53.1 in conference play. The Lights controlled the first six minutes of the game and led 12-6 at the 13:47 mark on a basket by Jordan Harris. Montana Western answered with six straight points by Brandon Brown and two by Kyle Erickson completing an 8-0 run to put the Bulldogs on top 14-12 with 10:48 to play. Four lead changes followed before two free throws by Brown tied things up 18-all with eight minutes left in the first half. Brown, Erickson and Tyler Hurley combined to score 15 points as the Bulldogs completed a 19-6 run to end the opening period with 37-24 lead. Devin Jackson’s three point basket opened the second half to bring the Lights to within 10 points. The Bulldogs got back to back baskets from Erickson and Brown to build the lead back to 14 points and the Bulldogs increased the lead to 19 points with 7:07 to play on a basket and free throw by Hurley. Consecutive three pointers by Shaun Tatarka and LaVon Myers got the Lights to within 10 points again at 80-70 with 2:28 remaining but the Bulldogs responded with a 7-2 run in the next minute to push the lead back to 15. A three pointer by Jordan Harris for the Lights and two free throws by Erickson for the Bulldogs closed out the scoring. Three Montana Western players led the way. Erickson had a monster night for the Bulldogs scoring a career high 32 points (21 in the second half), pulling down a team high 10 rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Erickson made 10 of 11 shots from the field and 11 of 12 free throws. Brown had a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists and Hurley just missed a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. Hurley was seven of eight from the field and six of seven from the free throw line. As a team Montana Western shot .592 (29-49) from the field, .333 (3-9) on three pointers and an excellent .875 (28-32) from the free throw line. Three players scored in double figures for the Lights. Tatarka scored 19 points (16 in the second half); making five of nine three point shots. Myers added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Joe Simpson had 11 points and seven rebounds. MSU-Northern was .403 (27-67) from the field, .344 (11-32) from beyond the three point line and .667 (10-15) on free throws. Montana Western moved into first place in the Frontier Conference with a 7-3 record and improved to 19-7 overall. MSU-Northern fell to 6-3 in the conference and 20-5 overall. The Bulldogs face the University of Great Falls Argos (5-4, 17-7) Saturday night in Dillon. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Argos defeated Montana Tech 70-41 Friday night.