Montana Western men’s hoops roundup

DILLON — The University of Montana Western Bulldogs men’s basketball team traveled to Butte, Mont. on Thursday, Jan. 3, and evened up their conference record with an 81-74 win over the Montana Tech Orediggers. On Saturday, Jan. 5, the Bulldogs battled with 11th ranked Lewis-Clark State College but came up a bit short in the 69-82 loss.

Thursday saw the return of Jake Owsley as he put up 15 points (7-9 from the field) and seven rebounds to lead Montana Western in the win. Tyler Miller and Maazin Butler each had 14 points while Jordan Overstreet contributed 11 and Vince Turk had 10.

Miller and Turk had nine rebounds apiece as the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Diggers 45-31. Gabe Rucker dished six assists and Kris Castro had four.

Montana Western had a terrific first half, shooting 54 percent (19-35) from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line to take a 20-point halftime lead, 44-24. The Bulldogs held the Diggers to 35 percent (9-26) from the field.

Montana Tech would fall behind by 24 in the second half before mounting a comeback to get within four points. The Diggers shot 50 percent (16-32) from the field and behind the arc (10-20) while the Bulldogs were 11-26 (42 percent) and 3-9 (33 percent).

Adam Greger led the Orediggers with 18 points, followed by Brandon Rydberg and Bryan Bock with 11 apiece.

On Saturday, a career night by Kris Castro (14 points and seven assists) was not enough for the Bulldogs to get the win over the undefeated Lewis-Clark State College Warriors (18-0, 4-0).

Montana Western held a slight lead for the first eight minutes before Lewis-Clark went on a 13-0 run and eventually took a 45-35 lead at the half. Both teams shot well; the Bulldogs were 13-24 (54 percent) from the field and 3-8 (38 percent) behind the arc while the Warriors were 16-30 (53 percent) and 5-8 (63 percent).

In the second half, Montana Western took a 59-57 lead at the 10:18 mark on a Kris Collins three-pointer. With 6:21 remaining, Lewis-Clark took back the lead for good and went on a 19-6 run to close out the game and win 82-69.

The Bulldogs were out-rebounded 38-26 and gave up 12 second-chance points. Montana Western also committed 19 turnovers, leading to 21 points for Lewis-Clark while only getting 16 points off the Warriors’ 15 turnovers.

In addition to Castro’s 14 points, three other Bulldogs reached double figures: Maazin Butler (13), Jake Owsley (11) and Jordan Overstreet (11). Gabe Rucker dished four assists, Owsley grabbed nine rebounds and Castro had three steals.

The Warriors were led by Robert Ellis with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals; Joseph Moquino with 20 points; Nick Fromm with 16 points; Donte Archie with 11 points; and Danny Marshall with nine rebounds and two blocks.

The Bulldogs will return home on Thursday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 12 after playing on the road for over a month. Montana State University-Northern, currently second in the conference with a 3-0 record, will be in town Thursday night for a 7:30 p.m. game. On Saturday, the University of Great Falls will bring their third place and 2-1 record to another 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

— Montana Western Sports Information