Men fashion defensive gem; Warriors disrupt potent Bulldogs and their trigger man, 65-43
When the Montana-Western men's basketball team stepped foot on the Activity Center floor Thursday night, it had the NAIA's sixth-most potent offense and third-most prolific scorer, Matt Luedtke.
But after sustaining a 65-43 Frontier Conference loss to Lewis-Clark State, the Bulldogs were probably shaking their heads all the way back to Dillon. Somehow, their Ferrari offense had about as much zip as a Gremlin on this night.
Regardless of what else the 11th-ranked Warriors do between now and the end of the season, this performance will likely be judged their defensive magnum opus. UMW mustered less than half of its average (88.4) and Luedtke, who is usually good for 24.4 points, flushed just one lonely 3-pointer in 29 minutes of play.
The 18th-ranked Bulldogs' previous low output had been 63 in an exhibition against Utah.
"If you'd have told me they were going to have 43 points," L-C coach George Pfeifer said, "I would have thought that was going to be a halftime total for them. Last week, they had 48 at the half.
"I know we didn't get Western's best," the coach added. "But again, I'm not going to take anything away from the effort that our kids made defensively tonight."
The charge was led by Spencer Bishop, a 5-foot-9 junior guard in his first season with the Warriors. LCSC played man-to-man almost the entire game, and Bishop was usually assigned to Luedtke.
Since the UMW guard is almost as deadly driving as he is shooting, Bishop varied his tactics. He usually played Luedtke tight, but occasionally gave him space, "just to keep him off-balance," Bishop said.
But when Luedtke didn't have the ball, Bishop glued himself to the 6-foot senior.
"Once we shot the ball and they got the defensive rebound, I was supposed to pick him up as soon as I could," Bishop said. "... We tried to limit his touches as much as we could.
"I really enjoyed the challenge," the Spokane native added. "I knew coming in that he was their leading scorer, and the leading scorer in the conference as well. I was really happy that coach Pfeifer allowed me to guard him."
Pfeifer was also happy: "Spencer Bishop's defensive performance tonight was one of the best I've seen for a long time."
The Warriors (17-5, 5-1) controlled this game from the start. Danny Allen canned a 3-pointer on their first possession, and James Idoko then stole the ball from UMW. Although Idoko traveled (and missed his dunk try) the opening flurry seemed to stun the Bulldogs.
L-C cruised to a 19-8 edge, and led by as much as 15 in the first half. The Bulldogs rallied to within nine in the second half, but the Warriors answered with a 12-2 spree.
Martin Brothers had a game-high line with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. John Moore chipped in 13 points while Allen added 11.
UMW (15-7, 4-2) got 17 points from Bo Segerberg, but none of his teammates had more than six points.
NOTES -- After missing last week's road trip because he "missed the bus," as Pfeifer said, Joey Ray returned to the Warriors' lineup. The senior guard came off the bench, scored seven points and played 12 minutes.
MONTANA-WESTERN (15-7, 4-2)
Feenstra 3-9 0-0 6, Cornelius 0-0 1-2 1, Palmer 2-7 1-2 6, Graham 2-6 0-1 5, Luedtke 1-13 0-0 3, Hibbert 0-1 0-0 0, Myers 1-5 0-0 3, Day 1-2 0-3 2, Segeberg 6-14 5-6 17. Totals 16-57 7-14 43.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (17-5, 5-1)
Moore 6-13 1-1 13, Idoko 1-1 2-2 4, Brothers 6-11 6-8 18, Allen 4-7 0-0 11, Bishop 1-5 0-0 2, Ray 3-5 0-0 7, Wilson 1-1 0-0 2, Pitts 3-7 0-0 6, Tikker 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-53 9-11 65.
Halftime score -- LCSC 32, UMW 22. Three-point goals -- UMW 4-26 (Feenstra 0-3, Palmer 1-5, Graham 1-5, Luedtke 1-8, Myers 1-4, Day 0-1); LCSC 4-10 (Allen 3-5, Bishop 0-2, Ray 1-3). Rebounds -- UMW 34 (Segeberg 6); LCSC 41 (Brothers 11). Assists -- UMW 6 (Day 2); LCSC 12 (Bishop 4). Total fouls -- UMW 11; LCSC 18. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.
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