UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western Bulldogs men’s and women’s basketball teams will host the Montana Tech Orediggers on Wednesday, Jan. 19 in Montana Western’s Straugh Gymnasium. The women play and 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. By Brett Morehouse & Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldogs men’s and women’s basketball teams will host the Montana Tech Orediggers on Wednesday, Jan. 19 in Montana Western’s Straugh Gymnasium. The women play and 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. The Montana Western men’s team won their last two games to up their conference record to 2-2 and their overall record to 14-5. The Bulldogs have been strong defensively in their last two games; they held the University of Great Falls to 61 points and Montana State University-Northern to 64 this past weekend. On the season the Bulldogs rank second in scoring defense in the Frontier Conference at 66.4 points per game (PPG) and lead in field goal percentage defense at .398. The Bulldogs are also second in scoring at 77.2 PPG. Montana Western is led offensively by Brandon Brown, who is second in scoring in the conference at 19.2 PPG. Cody Thueringer, who scores 14.8 PPG, is fifth in the conference. Tyler Hurley also scores in double figures with 11.3 PPG, ranking 16th in the conference. Brown tops the conference in assists average at 5.3 per game, while Kyle Perry is third in rebounding with 7.7 per game. Perry also leads in total blocked shots with 34, an average of 1.8 per game, which places him at second in the conference. The Orediggers got off to a rough start under first-year head coach Aaron Woliczko, losing their first 10 games. Since then they have gone 4-3, including a 2-2 record in the conference. The Orediggers are led in scoring by Kellen Hasquet with 12.7 PPG. Dirk Anderson and A.J. Paine chip in with 9.7 and 9.1 respectively. The women’s match-up will be a critical conference game for the Bulldogs. Montana Tech is 14-5 overall and is currently tied for first place in the Frontier Conference with a 3-1 record. The Orediggers feature a trio of talented scorers, including senior Taesha Higbee (13.95 PPG), junior Meghan Eisenmann (15.16 PPG) and sophomore Brooke Pokorny (12.32 PPG). Higbee, a 5’9” guard, also leads the Orediggers in both rebounds and steals. Montana Western, 5-11 overall and 1-3 in conference play, will be looking for their second consecutive conference victory following a 70-59 win over MSU-Northern last Saturday night. The Bulldogs have experienced a youth movement during the early part of the Frontier Conference schedule. Freshmen guards Sammi Bignell and Roxanne Thurman have combined to average just over 27 points through four conference games. During that same stretch, sophomore post Hayley Pettit contributed 13.5 points and a conference-leading 10 rebounds per game.
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.