Montana transfer Jared Samuelson had 24 points to help Rocky Mountain upset the No. 16 Montana Western men's basketball team, 85-75, in Dillon on Saturday night.

Samuelson, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Billings, was 10 of 16 from the field, and had his way inside against the smaller hosts.

The Bulldogs (15-4, 5-3 Frontier) entered the night with the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country at a whopping 98 points per game, and had blasted Rocky 103-84 in Billings on Jan. 6. But Western managed just 39 percent shooting on Saturday, and was just 7 of 14 from the free-throw line.

Both percentages came back to haunt the Bulldogs after Zac Darko-Kelly pulled the hosts within 79-75 with a 3-pointer with just under two minutes remaining. Darko-Kelly missed his next try from deep, though, and then had a turnover that all but sealed things as Western never scored again.

The Battlin' Bears (12-7, 4-4) shot 47 percent from the field, and hit 11 of their 26 tries from deep. Chad Kananen hit four of those treys to finish with 16 points, while Austin Payne had 14 points and three 3-pointers.

Darko-Kelly finished with 12 points for Western, while Kooper Kidgell had 18 points, including four 3-pointers.

Western leading scorer Dom Robinson was held to 13 points on just 4-of-15 shooting. That included a 3-of-13 night from behind the arch.

The teams will meet for a final time this season on Feb. 22 in Billings.

Western will look to get back on track when it plays at Providence on Friday at 7:30 p.m.


Western 64, Rocky Mountain 57

Brianna King had 23 points as Montana Western stayed hot by grinding out a tough home win over No. 18 Rocky Mountain.

The Bulldogs (14-6, 4-4 Frontier), winners of three straight after also upsetting No. 10 Carroll College on Thursday, had fallen out of the NAIA Top 25 a week ago after a three-game skid.

Western appears set for a return in the polls after beating the previously red-hot Battlin' Bears (15-2, 5-2) at their own game. Rocky entered the night with the top defense in the nation, allowing just 47 points per game.

Both teams shot just 37 percent from the field, but Western found an edge by hitting 23 of 30 free throws. King, who was just 4 of 12 from the field, led the way by hitting 15 of her 18 attempts at the foul line.

Rocky's only other loss in its last 11 games was a 58-56 loss at Carroll College in overtime on Jan. 9.

Cierra Lamey added 16 points and seven rebounds for Western, while Paige Holmes had 11 points.

Brooke Jones led the Bears with 16 points and five boards, while Hailee Farstveet added 13 points.

Western will get a shot at its third straight win against a ranked opponent when it travels to Great Falls to face No. 14 Providence on Friday at 5:30 p.m.


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