DILLON — The University of Montana Western men’s basketball team returned home for the first time in over a month to host Montana State University-Northern and the University of Great Falls on Thursday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 12.
On Thursday, the 10th ranked MSU-Northern Skylights handed the Bulldogs their first home loss of the season, 53-64. With 32 rebounds, seven assists and five steals for both the Skylights and Bulldogs, the contest was an evenly matched defensive battle.
Northern started the game on a six-point run and Montana Western followed with a 10-point run before the teams traded baskets and the Skylights took a 23-19 halftime lead. Neither teams’ offenses were clicking as the Bulldogs shot 23 percent (5-22) from the field and 22 percent (2-9) behind the arc while the Skylights were 30 percent (7-23) and 13 percent (1-8).
The Skylights got hot in the second half, shooting 78 percent (14-18) from the floor compared to Montana Western’s dismal 26 percent (7-27). The Skylights held their lead throughout the half and outscored the Bulldogs 41-34.
Maazin Butler led Montana Western with 18 points, followed by Jake Owsley with 12 and Jordan Overstreet with eight. Kris Castro contributed six rebounds and three assists while Owsley had five rebounds and three blocks. Austin Mailey came off the bench to pull down five offensive rebounds and help give the Bulldogs 10 second-chance points.
The Skylights were led by Devin Jackson with 18 points, Roshawn West with 11 and Jesse Vaughan and Dontae Clark with 10 apiece.
As they have done all season, the Bulldogs responded to the loss with a 71-59 win over the University of Great Falls Argonauts on Saturday. Although they did not shoot any better from the field (20-75 for 27 percent), the Bulldogs went 25 for 31 (81 percent) from the free-throw line and caused 21 turnovers while only committing 10.
Montana Western held a slight lead at the break, 29-26, and started the second half with an 11-4 run. In the final ten minutes, Great Falls would get within seven before falling behind by the eventual 12 points.
Montana Western was led by Jake Owsley’s third double-double of the season with 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Maazin Butler and Jordan Overstreet chipped in with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Kris Collins picked up four steals and Owsley swatted four shots. Gabe Rucker dished four assists and Tyler Miller had three. Kris Castro had a solid game with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Frontier Conference scoring leader Marcel Towns (20.84 points per game), who had 43 points against Westminster on Thursday, was allowed just ten shots and 15 points. Great Falls also got 15 points from TJ Harris and 14 from David Udadigbo.
Montana Western is home again this week for conference games on Thursday and Saturday, Jan. 24 and 26. On Thursday, Rocky Mountain College comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. match-up. Frontier Conference newcomer Dickinson State University brings comes to Dillon for an early 4 p.m. tip-off on Saturday.
— Montana Western Sports Information