UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western Bulldogs men’s basketball team defeated the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears 74-66 in front of another large crowd Saturday night in the Straugh Gymnasium. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldogs men’s basketball team defeated the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears 74-66 in front of another large crowd Saturday night in the Straugh Gymnasium. Before the game, Montana Western honored the first responders of Dillon and Beaverhead County. It was also military appreciation night and all coaches in both the women’s and men’s games wore tennis shoes to show their support for coaches against cancer. The first half was a physical battle as the score remained close. John Bayo hit a three point shot to give Rocky the lead for the first time, 15-14, nine minutes into the game. Tyler Miller followed by sinking two free throws to put the Bulldogs back in the lead before Anthony Carter connected on another three to put the Bears back on top 18-16. Sergio Troch scored back-to-back baskets in the paint to give Rocky their largest lead of the half, 22-16. Rocky maintained the lead until Brandon Brown lobbed the ball by the rim and Kyle Perry put it in with two seconds remaining to tie the game 34-34 as the first half ended. Matt Fogarty scored to open the second half and give Rocky the lead before Tyler Hurley scored twice to put the Bulldogs back on top 38-36. Rocky answered with a 12-3 run to take their largest lead of the game (48-40) at the 13:20 mark. The Bulldogs responded with nine points, five by Kyle Erickson and four by Brown, to tie things up 50-50 with ten minutes to play. Kurtis Parsons made and three-pointer to put the Bears ahead and Bridger Chambers answered with a three to tie the game for the seventh time 53-53. With Rocky up by four points, Erickson scored seven straight points and Jake Owsley added two more to complete a 9-0 Bulldog run and put Montana Western ahead 62-57 with 4:58 to play. The Bears followed with a two by Trocha and a three by Fogarty to knot things up 62-62 (the eighth tie of the game) with 3:58 remaining. Miller scored to put the Bulldogs back on top as Montana Western outscored Rocky 12-4 down the stretch for the victory. Miller, Brown, Hurley and Chambers all scored in the final run. Brown led the Bulldogs in scoring with 24 points and had three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Erickson had another excellent all-around game with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, five blocked shots and three steals. Hurley had nine points and led the team with eight rebounds. Miller scored eight points and had seven rebounds. Chambers scored seven points and Perry had six blocked shots. As a team Montana Western shot .458 (27-59) from the field, .200 (3-15) on three pointers and .739 (17-23) from the free throw line. The Bulldogs interior defense was again outstanding recording 13 blocked shots. Fogarty was the Bears scoring leader with 15 points and Trocha and Carter each scored 10. Point guard Doundrekyc Parham had a double-double (10 assists and 10 rebounds). Trocha just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Rocky was .361 (26-72) from the field, .292 (7-24) from beyond the three point line and .875 (7-8) on free throws. Montana Western (6-1, 18-5) remains tied for first place in the Frontier Conference with Montana State-Northern (6-1, 20-3). Rocky (3-4, 10-12) is in a four-way tie for third in the conference with the University of Great Falls, Westminster and Carroll.