Westminster edges Montana Western in overtime

UMW News Bureau

The Westminster College Griffins defeated the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 81-80 in overtime in a men’s basketball game at the Behnken Fieldhouse in Salt Lake City Thursday night. By Lowell Peterson  The Westminster College Griffins defeated the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 81-80 in overtime in a men’s basketball game at the Behnken Fieldhouse in Salt Lake City Thursday night. The game was a hotly contested contest that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes. The largest lead by either team was nine points and both teams had players step up and make big plays throughout the night. Montana Western started strong and pulled ahead 19-10 with 13:33 to play when Tyler Hurley was fouled and made all three of his free throws. Westminster responded with 9-1 run to cut the lead to one, 20-19, on two Alex Drecksel free throws, five points from Drew Phillips and a layup by Jordan Hayter. The lead changed five times before Hurley made two free throws to send the game into intermission tied 32-32. The Bulldogs took the lead five minutes into the second half and built the lead to 48-42 on two Kyle Perry free throws with 13:48 to play. Over the next nine plus minutes the Griffins went on a 19-4 run to lead 61-52 with 4:07 left in the game. Westminster still led by seven points with just over two minutes to play when Montana Western rallied. Hurley hit a three and Jake Owsley scored at the rim to cut the lead to five. After Ben Walker made two free throws, Kyle Erickson drilled a three-pointer and a layup to pull the Bulldogs to within two points, 65-63, with just over a minute to play. When Jake Orchard made two free throws with 46 seconds left Westminster led by four. Hurley then came up with two big plays for the Bulldogs. With sixteen seconds left Hurley’s three-pointer cut the lead to one. Two seconds later AJ Reilly made two free throws to push the Griffins’ lead back to three. Brandon Brown penetrated into the paint and kicked a pass out to Hurley who nailed another three-pointer with 5.7 seconds on the clock to tie the game 69-69 and send it into overtime. Montana Western scored the first four points of overtime but Westminster responded. Ben Walker made two free throws with 41 seconds remaining to put the Griffins on top 78-77. Reilly made one of two free throws to extend the lead to two points before Hurley was fouled attempting a three point shot with 10.6 seconds left. Hurley made all three free throws to give the Bulldogs an 80-79 lead. The Griffins inbounded the ball and Reilly the drove the length of the court and pulled up and hit a 14-foot jump shot with 3.2 seconds left to win the game for Westminster. Hurley was perfect from outside the three point arc (4-4) and the free throw line (9-9), leading the Bulldogs with 21 points and nine rebounds. Erickson and Brown each scored 16 points and Brown had seven assists. Owsley scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. As a team Montana Western shot .419 (26-62) from the field, .471 (8-17) on three pointers and .800 (20-25) from the free throw line. Four players scored in double figures for the Griffins. Orchard led the way with 14 points, Reilly scored 13 (all in the second half), Hayter added 12 and Walker finished with 11. Jordan Hamilton was the rebound leader with six and Orchard had a team high five assists. Westminster was .481 (26-54) from the field, .389 (7-18) from beyond the three point line and .759 (22-29) on free throws. Westminster (4-4, 16-8) hosts the Montana Tech Orediggers (2-6, 10-9) and Montana Western (6-2, 18-6) travels to Lewiston, Idaho to play the Lewis-Clark State Warriors (3-5, 14-8) at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The Warriors defeated the Orediggers 73-69 Thursday night.