Montana Tech collars Western Bulldogs

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Soar to score

Western’s Jalen Hodges, a 6-4 senior, attacks the basket versus Montana Tech. Terri Haverfield photo

The University of Montana Western men’s basketball team continued to score a lot of points and get close in the final scores over the past week.

But the Red Aurebach victory cigar continued to hover just beyond the Bulldogs’ reach during three losses in five days to Montana Tech.

The Diggers closed Sunday’s game with a 9-0 run over the final 2:34 to vault past the Bulldogs for an 82-76 win on the Kelvin Sampson Court in Butte, where Tech outpointed the Bulldogs, 32-21, across the final 12 and a half minutes on Saturday for an 88-78 victory.

A similar script played out last Wednesday in Dillon, where MTT used a 25-19 scoring edge over the game’s final 7:11 to earn an 86-81 triumph.

The wins elevated Montana Tech to 9-7 overall and 9-5 in the Frontier Conference while extending the Bulldogs’ losing streak a half-dozen games and setting back their overall record to 3-8 and league mark to 2-8.

Still, the game’s showcased Western’s athleticism and ability to fill up the basket.

Western got 26 points and 7 rebounds last Wednesday, and then 27 points and 8 rebounds Sunday from powerful power forward Jalen Hodges, who hit better than half his shots (19 of 35) from the field and pulled down 15 rebounds in the two games.

Hodges missed Saturday’s game, but a pair of local brothers helped make up for his absence with their continued strong play.

Junior Tanner Haverfield scored 44 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while his redshirt freshman sibling and fellow BCHS grad Michael Haverfield contributed 30 points during the three-game stint against Tech.

Point guard Max Clark helped facilitate that scoring with 22 assists and 34 points of his own for UMW, which also got 37 points over the course of the week from Jamal Stephenson.

Still, all that was not enough to overcome Tech, which gleaned 58 points during the three-games against UMW from Siandou Diallo—who for his efforts against Western secured Frontier Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors.

Next up for the Bulldogs, a 6 p.m. game today in Great Falls against league-leading University of Providence (7-1), and then a weekend home doubleheader against Rocky Mountain College featuring a 7 p.m. start Saturday and 1 p.m. tipoff Sunday.

Per Frontier Conference pandemic precautions, no fans will be allowed into the games.