Busy weekend at home for Bulldog basketball

UMW News Bureau

The Montana Western Bulldog men’s and women’s basketball teams return home for games against Carroll and Rocky Mountain on Friday and Saturday to wind up the first half of the Frontier Conference schedule. By Lowell Peterson The Montana Western Bulldog men’s and women’s basketball teams return home for games against Carroll and Rocky Mountain to wind up the first half of the Frontier Conference schedule. In addition to the men's and women's games, Montana Western will be honoring former Bulldog coach and Hall of Fame member Casey Keltz on Friday night. On Saturday, Montana Western will honor the first responders of Dillon and Beaverhead County. Saturday is also military appreciation night. Casey Keltz was head basketball coach at Western Montana College (now Montana Western) from 1969 to 1996, head track coach from 1970 to 1978, head baseball coach in 1966 and head football coach from 1965 to 1967. He was inducted into the Montana Western Hall of Fame in 1981. During his time as head basketball coach Keltz posted over 400 wins. He will be recognized with the "Swede" Kenison Memorial Award just before tipoff of the men's basketball game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. On Saturday, Montana Western will recognize local first responders during halftime of the men's game. First responders and their families may attend the game for free and there will be a hospitality room in the Keltz Arena from 6 to 8 p.m. Members of the military and veterans also may attend Saturday's game free of charge. The Bulldog basketball teams will face the Carroll College Fighting Saints on Friday, Jan. 27 and the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears on Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Straugh Gymnasium on the Montana Western campus. Game times for both nights will be 5:30 p.m. for the women and 7:30 p.m. for the men. Friday night both the Rocky women and men will face Montana Tech in Butte. The Western women (2-3, 12-6) are currently tied for fifth in the conference and look to get back on the winning track after a loss to Montana Tech 84-71 in Butte last Saturday. The Bulldogs need to defend home court and pick up two wins to get back into the top half of the conference standings. Carroll is currently 1-4 in conference play and 8-10 overall. Rocky is tied for third in the conference with a 3-2 record and is 14-6 overall. The Bulldogs have three players scoring in double figures on the season. Hayley Pettit leads the way, scoring 16.7 points a game and also leads the team in rebounds with an average of 11.7 and steals with 27. Pettit’s scoring average ranks 20th in the NAIA and she is seventh in rebounding. Sammi Bignell is scoring 14.3 points per game and has made 20 of 63 (.317) three point shots. Nicole Tams averages 10.9 points per game and is 14 of 35 (.400) from three point range. Kassi Kerbs has the best free throw percentage at .950 (19-20) and Alecia Wilson leads the team with 4.3 assists per game. The 22-ranked Montana Western men (4-1, 16-5) are currently tied for first in the conference with Montana State-Northern and are coming off a hard-fought 65-61 victory over Montana Tech in Butte last Saturday. Carroll and Rocky are both 2-3 and in a six-way tie for third place in the conference. Overall the Saints have a 9-8 record and Rocky enters the weekend at 9-11. Brandon Brown leads the Bulldogs and the conference in scoring at 22.3 points per game and steals with 2.5 per game. Brown’s scoring average also ranks him ninth in the NAIA. He is also the team leader in assists at 4.1 per game and has made 42 of 145 (.290) three point field goals on the season. Tyler Hurley averages 13.2 points per game and is the rebound leader with 5.9 per game. Hurley is also 28 of 62 (.452) from beyond the three point arc. Kyle Erickson averages 9.8 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding (5.4), assists with 65, steals with 22 and has made 21 of 54 (.389) threes. Tyler Miller has the top free throw percentage at .793 (23-29) and Kyle Perry leads the conference in total blocked shots with 26 (1.3 per game).