Montana Western Dawgs downed twice in Helena

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The University of Montana Western men’s basketball team came from a long way back against Carroll College on Saturday in Helena.

But the Bulldogs’ comeback didn’t make it back quite far enough, as Carroll held on for an 81-73 victory.

Trailing by 16 points at halftime, the Bulldogs got a quick boost, with former BCHS great Tanner Haverfield burying a 3-point shot just 18 seconds into the second half.

A trey by Treyton Paxton four minutes later brought the Dawgs to within a half-dozen points of the Saints.

But Western never got closer than that, in large part due to a 23-point, 12-rebound, 4-assist effort by Carroll’s Jovan Sljivancanin.

The Saints’ 6-foot-5-inch Serbian import proved even more devastating on Sunday, hitting 16 of 25 shots from the field to score 34 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds to lead the hosts to a 78-61 victory and net himself the Frontier Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week award.

Haverfield recorded 19 points for UMW in the two games against Carroll last weekend, where his fellow Bulldog forward Jalen Hodges totaled 21 points.

Point guard Max Clark added two dozen points for UMW, while his Bulldog backcourt mate Jamal Stephenson posted 22.

Next up for the Bulldogs, a weekend off from competitive action.

The Montana Western men were scheduled to host the undefeated University of Providence to Straugh Gymnasium for games on Saturday and Sunday—contests that would have brought the Bulldogs up against former UMW Head Coach Steve Keller and their former standout player Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, both of whom are now at Providence.

But the Frontier Conference announced yesterday that the games had been called off “due to COVID issues.”

The women’s basketball games between Providence and Montana Western scheduled for Saturday and Sunday look set to proceed as planned.