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Bulldog basketball splits road games

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team picked up their second conference win of the season with an impressive 80-71 victory over Rocky Mountain College on Saturday night, Jan. 29 in Billings. The Bulldog men’s team dropped their game against the Bears 68-78. By Brett Morehouse & Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team picked up their second conference win of the season with an impressive 80-71 victory over Rocky Mountain College on Saturday night, Jan. 29 in Billings. The Bulldog men’s team dropped their game against the Bears 68-78. The Bulldogs raced to a 40-15 halftime lead thanks to a swarming defense that turned Rocky Mountain College (RMC) turnovers and missed shots into open looks and easy baskets. Montana Western shot a blistering 60 percent from the field during the first 20 minutes while holding the Battlin’ Bears to just 17 percent. The second half saw the Bulldogs score the first six points and extend their lead to 46-15 before the Bears mounted a valiant comeback. In a reversal of fortune, Rocky was able to use 16 second-half turnovers by Montana Western to cut the Bulldog lead to just six points with under four minutes to play. Montana Western responded with a clutch three-point field goal by sophomore guard Rheanna Padden to extend their lead back to nine points. The Bulldogs were able to finish off the Bears by making free throws down the stretch. Freshman guard Sammi Bignell and senior post Chloe Mosey led the Bulldogs in scoring with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Hayley Pettit added 11 points and pulled down a staggering 20 rebounds. Pettit’s impressive work on the boards came up one rebound shy of the school record of 21, which was set by Jill Feller in 2004. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 2-5 in the Frontier Conference and 6-13 overall. Montana Western will return to action this week versus two nationally ranked teams in Westminster College and Lewis-Clark State College. Both games on Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5 begin at 5:30 p.m. in Montana Western’s Straugh Gynasium. In the men’s game the Bears scored the first 10 points against the Bulldogs, going on to defeat Montana Western 78-68 on Saturday, Jan. 29. The Bulldogs managed to pull to within four points by halftime and trailed 36-32 at the break. The closest Montana Western would get in the second half was three points as the Bears defended their home court and led the entire game. The Bears shot the ball well from behind the three-point line in the first half, going six of 14 to build their lead and control the game. The Bulldogs made just three of eight long-range attempts as they struggled to find an offensive rhythm. Neither team shot well from outside the three-point line in the second half. The Bears scored on just one of five attempts while the Bulldogs hoisted up 20 shots, making only four. Brandon Brown and Cody Thueringer led the way for the Bulldogs as both players achieved a double-double in points and rebounds. Brown finished the night with 27 points and 10 rebounds and Thueringer had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Mark Lussier was the only other Bulldog to reach double digits in scoring, getting seven of his 10 points late in the game. Four players scored in double figures for the Bears. EJ Ross had a strong offensive night with 24 points. Ross was deadly from the free-throw line converting nine of 10 charity shots. Guards Anthony Carter and Mark Desin scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Sergio Trocha added a double-double with 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Rebounds and loose ball possessions were keys in Rocky’s victory; the Bears outrebounded the Bulldogs 49-35, getting 15 offensive rebounds on the night while also capitalizing on the majority of loose balls. Montana Western fell to 16-6 on the season and 4-3 in conference play. Rocky upped their record to 10-13 overall and 3-4 in the conference. The Bulldogs are still in a three-way tie for second place in the Frontier Conference with Carroll College and Montana State University-Northern, both of which sport 4-3 records. Westminster, after two wins at home, now stands alone at the top with 5-2 conference record. The Bulldogs now face Westminster and Lewis-Clark State in two key conference games at home in the friendly confines of the Straugh Gymnasium next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5. Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m.
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