Dawgs win NAIA tourney opener

Western outlasts LSUS, 99-94, to advance to Sweet Sixteen in Kansas City
Dom Robinson dazzled while leading Montana Western to a win in the first round of the NAIA tourney on Thursday night in Kansas City.

Powered by a star-making performance on the national stage by Dom Robinson, the Montana Western men's basketball team on Thursday held on for a 99-94 victory over Louisiana State University-Shreveport in the first round of the NAIA Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament in Kansas City.

The Bulldogs' starting point guard, Robinson shot 10 of 12 from the field (including 6 of 7 from downtown) and nailed all five of his free throws to score 32 points, while dishing seven assists.

The fourth seed in the 32-team tourney's Liston Bracket, the Dawgs built a 16-point halftime lead that they extended to 21 in the second half.

Western remained comfortably ahead until a series of late treys by the fifth-seeded Pilots cut the Dawgs' lead to four points with just over a minute to play.

But with Robinson back in the lineup after spending time on the sidelines recovering from leg cramps, Western re-asserted control and secured the victory.

Robinson's starting backcourt mate Shyke Smalls contributed 23 points and five assists to Western's cause while also battling leg cramps.

Riley King lead a rebounding by committee effort for Western to grab eight boards.

Montana Western will next take on Dalton State, the top seed in the Liston Bracket, in a second-round match-up Kansas City on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time, though as the last game on the day's schedule, its tipoff time could be pushed back if earlier games run late.

For a full recap of Montana Western's opening round win and all their games at the national tourney performance, see next Wednesday's print edition of the Dillon Tribune.