Men's basketball splits re-match

UMW News Bureau

Fresh off home victories over Rocky Mountain College (75-67) and Dickinson State University (78-51), the University of Montana Western got mixed results on the road. On Thursday, Jan. 24, the Bulldogs defeated Rocky Mountain 89-86 in overtime but on Saturday, Jan. 26, Dickinson State handed them a 71-83 loss.

Career nights by Jake Owsley (23 points and 18 rebounds) and Jordan Overstreet (30 points) propelled the Bulldogs to victory against Rocky Mountain. With six ties and 11 lead changes, the game was close throughout both periods and marked Montana Western’s first win at Rocky Mountain’s Fortin Center since 2001.

Montana Western held a slight lead at halftime, 32-28, behind Owsley’s 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Bulldogs opened up the second half with five unanswered points, gaining the largest lead of the night at nine points. Rocky Mountain took over the lead at the 10:45 mark and held it until Montana Western’s Kris Collins made a bucket with 4:20 remaining.

With seven seconds on the clock, Overstreet sank two free-throws to give the Bulldogs a 74-71 lead. Just when it looked like the Bulldogs would escape with the victory, Rocky Mountain’s Don Parham was fouled on a three-pointer with one second remaining. He made all three foul shots to send the game into overtime. Overstreet’s seven overtime points lifted the Bulldogs to the 89-86 victory.

Overstreet came off the bench to score his career-high 30 points, going 10-12 from the free-throw line, six for 11 on three-pointers and seven for 14 from the field. Maazin Butler chipped in 11 points, three assists and three steals for the Bulldogs. Collins came up with eight points while Kris Castro had seven rebounds and four assists. Owsley also had three assists and three steals to go along with his career-high 18 rebounds and 23 points (eight of 15 from the field, seven of seven from the charity stripe).

Rocky Mountain was led by Don Parham with 24 points and six assists, Joel Barndt with 18 points and eight rebounds, Malachi Roberts with 16 points, Jeremy Nicholas with 14 points and Matt Strickland with nine points, seven assists and six steals.

For the game, Montana Western shot 45 percent (29-64) from the field, 82 percent (23-28) on free-throws and 31 percent (8-26) behind the arc. Rocky Mountain was 46 percent (28-61) from the field, 73 percent (19-26) from the stripe and 33 percent (11-33) on three-pointers in the evenly matched contest.

Saturday’s game against the Dickinson State Blue Hawks was almost a mirror image of the previous weekend, except backwards. On Jan. 19, the Blue Hawks led for the first minute and 47 seconds before the Bulldogs took control and dominated in the 78-51 victory. This weekend, on Jan. 26, the Bulldogs made the first basket but trailed for the remainder of the game, eventually falling 71-83.

A major difference in the game came at the free-throw line as Dickinson State made ten more free-throws (25-33 for 76 percent) than Montana Western (15-22 for 68 percent). Foul trouble hurt the Bulldogs, with Maazin Butler, Jake Owsley and Kris Collins all reaching the maximum five hacks.

Dickinson State shot 48 percent (24-50) from the floor and 42 percent (10-24) from three-point land compared to Montana Western’s 39 (23-59) and 35 percents (10-29).

Butler paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and two steals. Collins followed with 13 points while Jordan Overstreet and Kris Castro had 11 apiece. Vince Turk pulled down eight rebounds and Castro dished three assists.

James Hayden and John Hanstad each put up 19 points for Dickinson State followed by Jarek Hansen with 16 and Johnie Sanders with 14.

The split keeps the Bulldogs (15-7, 5-4) tied for fourth place in the Frontier Conference standings with Great Falls. They are trailing Lewis-Clark State (7-2), MSU-Northern (6-3) and Westminster (5-3). Montana Tech and Rocky Mountain are right behind with 4-5 records, followed by Dickinson State (3-4) and Carroll College (0-9).

Montana Western will begin February with a trip to Helena and Great Falls. The Friday, Feb. 1 matchup with Carroll College will be their first meeting of the season. The Bulldogs will look to defend their 71-59 home win (played on Jan. 12) against Great Falls on Saturday, Feb. 2. Both games will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.