DILLON — The University of Montana Western men’s basketball team heated up in their second straight weekend at home. On Friday, Jan. 18, the Bulldogs took down Rocky Mountain College 75-67. The next afternoon, Dickinson State was handed a 78-51 loss.
On the weekend, the Bulldogs only trailed for the first minute and 47 seconds against Dickinson State. The rest was all Montana Western as their excellent team play dominated every statistical category: points 153-118, rebounds 87-66, assists 51-24, turnovers 27-35, blocks 14-6 and steals 21-13.
In the first half against the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears, the Bulldogs steadily built their lead, shot 47 percent (17-36) from the field, held Rocky Mountain to 27 percent (10-37) and took a 42-26 lead into halftime.
The Bears came back in the second half with 63 percent (15-24) shooting from the floor and 55 percent (6-11) from three-point land. On two occasions, Rocky Mountain would get within two points but the Bulldogs held them off thanks to five points by Maazin Butler in the final two minutes.
Kris Castro put up a career-high 19 points followed by Jake Owsley with 14, Butler with 12 and Kris Collins with nine. Jordan Overstreet and Gabe Rucker each dished four assists while Butler and Castro had three apiece. Owsley also chipped in eight rebounds and four blocks while Castro had two blocks and four steals for the Bulldogs.
The Bears got 15 points from Don Parham, 13 from Malachi Roberts and 11 from Matt Strickland. Joel Barndt had nine rebounds and Parham four assists.
On Saturday afternoon, the Dickinson State Blue Hawks stayed with Montana Western in the first half until the Bulldogs went on a 20-3 run over the final nine minutes for a 43-17 lead at the break. Montana Western shot 50 percent (17-34) from the field and 54 percent (7-13) behind the arc, compared to Dickinson State’s 22 percent for both (6-27 from the field and 2-9 behind the arc).
The Bulldogs continued to dominate in the second half, never letting the Blue Hawks within 20 points. Their largest lead, at 35 points, came at the 16:29 mark when Jordan Overstreet made his third straight three-pointer in one minute. The difference in the game was in the paint, where Montana Western outscored Dickinson State 34-8.
All twelve Bulldogs scored, led by Jake Owsley with 14 points on six-of-10 shooting, Overstreet with 12 points all from behind the arc and Gabe Rucker with 11. Kris Castro had a career-high nine assists and Rucker dished seven.
Connor Woodill, Grant Fink and Castro each pulled down six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to a 46-36 advantage. Tyler Miller and Woodill had three steals apiece while Kris Collins and Castro each had a pair of blocks.
Not a single Dickinson State player reached double digits. Anthony Hodges came off the bench to score eight points and hand out four assists while Brock Boos had seven rebounds.
The weekend sweep moves the Bulldogs to 14-6, 4-3. They are now tied for fourth place in the Frontier Conference standings (with Westminster and Rocky Mountain). There is also a three-way tie for first, with Lewis-Clark State, MSU-Northern and Great Falls all sporting 5-2 records.
Montana Western will now turn around and head to Billings, Mont. and Dickinson, N.D. to play Rocky Mountain and Dickinson State on their home floors. Tip-off in Billings will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24. In Dickinson on Saturday, Jan. 26, the ball will drop at 4 p.m.
— Montana Western Sports Information