(Editor's Note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA -- The No. 9 Carroll College Fighting Saints suffered its first loss in the past nine games, falling 80-74 to Montana Western on Friday in the PE Center.
Carroll (14-4, 5-1 Frontier Conference) led 39-26 at halftime, but couldn't muster the energy to break through in the second half, as the Bulldogs (8-8, 1-4) outscored the Saints 54-35.
"Credit Western," Saints coach Kurt Paulson said. "They went to a zone and we got stagnant. I'm going to take the blame for that. We knew we were going to see zone and I didn't have our guys prepared enough for a zone offensive attack. Secondly, I thought I should have used my timeouts better in the second half.
The Saints shot just 35% from the field in the second half and fared worse from deep, hitting just 14% of their tries from beyond the arc (2-for-14, 5-for-22 for the game).
Though Paulson refused to blame fatigue as a major factor in the game, signs of the Saints playing 48 hours after a triple-overtime game in Billings certainly showed.
The Bulldogs were fresher and played harder for longer on Friday. UMW outrebounded the Saints 41-34.
"I didn't think we blocked out very well," Paulson said. "It's possibly fatigue, but credit Western they had a great gameplan."
The Saints remain atop the Frontier, but face a challenging road trip next week with visits to Montana State-Northern and No. 8 Providence.
"We obviously have some adjustments to make," Paulson said. "They only get tougher from here on out. We have to get better."