Williams, Smalls power Dawgs to victory over Redhawks

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Coming off a heart-breaking loss to No. 4 Arizona Christian, the Bulldogs bounced back to beat Benedictine University at Mesa 82-69 behind the high-powered scoring attack of Dexter Williams, Jr. and Shyke Smalls. Stats

It appeared to be déjà vu as the Bulldogs (7-6) again found themselves in a big first half hole as they trailed 18-4 just 6:40 into the game.

Sparked by back-to-back and-ones by Connor Woodill and Kooper Kidgell the Bulldogs fought themselves out of the double-digit deficit and cut the Redhawk’s lead to just five points in less than two minutes.

A back-and-forth battle concluded the first half as BenU at Mesa took a 35-31 lead into the break. The Redhawk’s were led by 19 first half points from junior Troy Conley on 6-6 shooting from downtown. Montana Western was paced by Williams, Jr. as he pumped in 12 first half points.

Kooper Kidgell and Woodill were big off the bench to keep the ‘Dawgs close by scoring 13 points in the half.

After shooting just 32 percent from the field in the opening stanza (10-31) and 9 percent from beyond the arc (1-11) the Bulldogs responded to shoot 56 percent (19-34) from the field and 62 percent (5-8) from three-point territory in the second half.

Montana Western continued to show its inside dominance throughout the season as they outscored BenU at Mesa 40-26 in the paint and scored 27 points off turnovers as they forced 17 in the game.

Smalls had his second consecutive huge second half, after he scored 26 points against Arizona Christian a night ago, he responded to score 16 in route to 20 total points.

He followed Williams, Jr. who finished with a game-high 24 points in the game. Williams, Jr. also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and dished out three assists in the win.

Woodill joined Smalls and Williams, Jr. in double-figures as he contributed with 13 points, including two 3-pointers off the bench.

Western’s bench outscored the Redhawks in large part to Woodill and Kidgell (6).

Demitrius Balark scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists.

Senior Quinn Smith scored five points, brought down five rebounds and blocked three shots in the middle of the 2-3 zone.

The Redhawks were led by a trio of scorers to reach double-figures – Conley (19) all in the first half, Richie Thornton (17) and Kyle Tomlinson (12) – Thornton also dished out six assists and Tomlinson just missed a double-double as her had a game-high nine boards.

Montana Western will return home and face the University of Montana Grizzlies in an exhibition match-up on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. in Missoula.

 — Montana Western Sports Information

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