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Montana Western holds off Blue Hawks

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State freshman guard Jacob Volk dribbles against Montana Western in a Frontier Conference game on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium.

The Dickinson State men’s basketball team has battled with the Frontier Conference’s best.

But the Blue Hawks can’t hang on in the final minutes.

Despite coming back from an 18-point deficit at halftime, DSU didn’t have enough firepower left as Montana Western took an 86-75 Frontier Conference win on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium.

“They beat Rocky (Mountain) at Rocky and we think Rocky is the best team in the league,” Western head coach Steve Keller said. “We know they’re good and I hardly ever won here to be honest with you. Ty (Orton) does a great job, his guys always play hard, they shoot the ball, they’re well coached and we’re fortunate to get a win here on the road. This is a tough place to play.”

In the first two minutes, the Bulldogs (13-8, 6-4 Frontier) took control and went up 7-0 before DSU’s Mackenson Odenier hit a shot in the paint. The junior post finished with 15 points and tied for a game-high eight rebounds.

Western grew its lead three minutes later to 10, before DSU (7-14, 2-7 Frontier) started fighting back.

DSU never held a lead but came within three points at the 10:27 mark of the first half after senior guard Isiah Thomas made his free-throw shot. But Western responded and expanded its lead to double-digits as Jordan Overstreet, who contributed eight points in 46 seconds, and guard Maazin Butler, with the final two shots of the half including a two-point jumper with 1 second left.

“It was that one little run in the first half,” Orton said. “It was a four-minute period where they were executing extremely well and had us turned around couple times and they did a really good job of doing what they’re supposed to do on offense and they ended up hitting shots.”

DSU’s biggest problem has been rebounding and giving teams second chances. Despite the Blue Hawks picking up 38 total rebounds with 16 of them being offensively, they allowed Western to get 14 offensive rebounds.

“What’s killing us is their offensive rebounding,” DSU freshman Jacob Volk said. “We’re struggling on box outs, we’re giving them too many second chance points.”

For DSU, senior guard Ty Ackelson (18), Odenier (15), Volk (11) and junior guard Tevin Russell (10) all combined for more than two-thirds of the team’s final points with 54.

Three Western players combined for 59 points. Butler scored a game-high 22 points and went 7 for 14 from the floor followed by Gabe Butler with 14, Overstreet finished with 12 and center Jake Owsley rounded out with 11.

Almost every game, the Blue Hawks are in contention to come away with a huge win but end up falling just out of reach. The team approaches each game as a new season and a fresh start, but can’t get over its mental block with certain fundamentals.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t stick, you can study for a test and sometimes it won’t stay in your head and I feel like it’s kind of the situation sometimes,” Russell said. “… We have to be conscious of exactly what we need to do right and if we constantly think about it then we’ll do it better.”

DSU will keep pressing forward and prepare for its long week on the road. The team leaves Tuesday night for Salt Lake City to face Westminster College (Utah) again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and travels to Dillion, Mont., for a rematch against Western at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“Nobody in the locker room is going to quit and that’s the attitude we’re going to have,” Russell said. “Give it all we got every game and try to get a win.”

MONTANA WESTERN (13-8, 6-4 Frontier): Jake Owsley 5-12 1-1 11, Vince Turk 3-7 0-0 6, Maazin Butler 7-14 4-6 22, Kris Castro 3-4 0-0 6, Gabe Rucker 3-7 6-6 14, Shyke Smalls 0-2 1-2 1, Kurtis Parsons 2-3 0-0 5, Tyler Miller 2-3 2-3 6, Connor Woodill 1-1 0-0 3, Jordan Overstreet 2-8 6-8 12. Totals: 28-61 20-26 86.

DICKINSON STATE (7-14, 2-7 Frontier): Ty Ackelson 6-10 4-4 18, Brock Boos 2-7 0-0 6, Isiah Thomas 1-1 1-2 3, Tevin Russell 4-12 2-2 10, Mackenson Odenier 4-8 7-11 15, Jeremy Beehler 0-1 0-0 0, Juston Goodwin 2-6 5-6 9, Robbie Morey 0-3 0-0 0, Markp Potkonjak 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Volk 4-7 2-2 11, Carl Dynneson 1-3 1-2 3. Totals: 24-59 22-29 75.

Halftime: 46-28. Total fouls: MW 24, DSU 22. Fouled out: MW, Turk. 3-point goals: MW 10-25 (Butler 4-9, Castro 0-1, Rucker 2-5, Smalls 0-1, Parsons 1-2, Woodill 1-1, Overstreet 2-6), DSU 5-24 (Ackelson 2-3, Boos 2-7, Russell 0-3, Beehler 0-1, Goodwin 0-3, Morey 0-3, Potkonjak 0-1, Volk 1-3). Rebounds: MW 36 (Owsley 8), DSU 38 (Odenier 8). Assists: MW 18 (Castro 6), DSU 5 (Morey 2). Steals: MW 12 (Rucker 3), DSU 7 (Odenier 2). Blocks: MW none, DSU none. Turnovers: MW 14 (Butler 3), DSU 18 (Russell 7).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.