Rally sends Montana Western men to Sweet 16

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Montana Western shook of the first round jitters midway through the first half and claimed a victory over 16-seeded Benedictine 80-77 at the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Men’s Basketball Division I National Championship. Stats

The Ravens built a 14-point lead midway through the first period behind a 44 percent shooting effort from three. The Bulldogs were led by Frontier Conference Player of the Year Dexter Williams Jr. with 13 first half points and first team all-conference selection Stephen McCall with 12 points in the half. The Bulldogs comeback was fueled by 57 percent shooting from the floor and a 7-7 effort from the free throw line as Montana Western claimed a 43-39 lead at the intermission.

In the second half Williams Jr. and McCall proved to be too much for the Ravens to handle.

“Dexter and Stephen were outstanding tonight,” Bulldog head coach Steve Keller said. “Combined they were 22-22 from the free throw line and 14-24 from the field.”

McCall led the scoring with 36 points in more than 38 minutes of play. Williams Jr. was the only other Bulldog in double figures with 17 points and 7 defensive rebounds in 39 minutes on the floor.

“This was a total team effort,” Keller said. “Benedictine was a very good team and we had to play exceptionally well to get the win tonight.”

Montana Western will face number one seed Hope International in the round of sixteen on Friday at 5:15 p.m.

Rocky Mountain College and Lewis-Clark State College play their first-round games on Thursday. Bracket

— Montana Western Sports Information