UMW News BureauThe Bulldog men's basketball team hosts the University of Lethbridge in a pair of non-conference basketball games from the Straugh Gymnasium. By Wally Feldt The Montana Western men’s basketball team tip off their 2009-2010 season Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 when they host the University of Lethbridge in a pair of non-conference games. First jump is Friday at 7 p.m. The Saturday game starts at 2 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on KDBM radio. Last year, Steve Keller’s Bulldogs were 15-14 overall and 8-6 in the Frontier Conference. Keller will build his 2009-10 squad around five returning seniors including one first team all-conference selection. “I really like our depth,” Keller said. “We have two guys at every position. Athletically and size-wise, we are a lot better. Rebounding should be much better.” The Bulldog seniors include JaRon Brown, a 6’6” forward from Federal Way, Wash.; Garrett Fink, a 6‘5” forward from Helena, Mont.; Layne Glaus, a 6’0 guard from Whitehall, Mont.; Terry Hauser, a 6’2” guard from Three Forks, Mont.; and Brandon Lawson a 6’2” forward from Chicago, Ill. Last year Brown averaged 13.7 points (second on the team) and 4.8 rebounds. Hauser was third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. Fink led the team in rebounding with seven rebounds per game. Lawson was averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game before being injured in the middle of the conference season. “This a definite strength of our team,” Keller said. “Our senior leadership this season is second to none.” Also returning from last year are 6’7” sophomore Nate Sawin of Renton, Wash.; 6’1” junior guard Jared Smithson of Anaconda, Mont.; and 6’’3” Cody Thueringer of Kent, Wash. Thueringer was fourth on the team in scoring last year with 9.6 points per game. Sawin will join the Bulldogs at the conclusion of football season. Keller was busy in the off season signing four talented transfers. Jeff Edwards, a 6’10” freshman post from Butte, Mont., transfers from Montana State University; Tyler Hurley, a 6’5” sophomore forward from Anaconda, Mont., tranfers from the University of Montana; Brandon Brown, a 5’10” sophomore guard from Tacoma, Wash., comes in from Highland College and Bryan Durisseau-Currie, a 6’2” junior guard transfers in from Green River Community College. The Bulldog squad is rounded out by redshirts Grant Fink, a 6’8” forward from Helena, Mont.; Jake Iverson, a 5’8” guard from Dillon, Mont.; and JC Isakson, a 6’1” guard from Augusta, Mont. “When I look at the strengths of our team,” Keller said, “in addition to the senior leadership, you have to look at the balance and depth of this team. We are solid with a good inside and outside game.” In the latest preseason poll of Frontier Conference men’s basketball coaches, Montana Western was picked third in the balloting. The Lethbridge games begin a 17-game non-conference schedule for the Bulldogs including seven at home in the Straugh Gymnasium. The Frontier Conference schedule begins in January.