By Ryan Divish
The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team was a small team that kept getting smaller throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, the Lights' opponents didn't do the same thing. Northern lost its second game of a tough road trip to the Westminster College Griffins, 94-71, in Salt Lake City.
With starting forward Charlie Ereaux at home with his newborn son and reserve forward Brian McGowan ill with the flu, the Lights struggled against Westminster, which has probably the biggest team in the Frontier Conference.
"They are very big and physical team," said Lights head coach Shawn Huse. "Their style of play in their gym is much different than up here. We knew it going in, but they were still effective."
Westminster shot a blistering 62 percent from the field and outrebounded Northern 34-24 in the game. For the second straight game, the Lights struggled a little from the outside.
"We weren't hitting for a real good percentage and that's something we need to do to win," Huse said.
Matt Sparrow, a 6-6 forward, scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Westminster. The Griffins also got 23 points from shooting guard Adam Hiatt in the win.
Northern was led by Kent Douglas with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Reid Stovall with 12 points. Larry Morinia chipped in with 10 points and four assists.
"They really let them play physically inside and Kent really flourished," Huse said. "Reid also had a nice weekend for us and really stepped up."
The Lights ended the regular season with a 6-8 record in the Frontier Conference and a 19-13 record overall. Despite the losses, Northern finished in fifth place and will face Rocky Mountain College in the first round of the Frontier Conference tournament in Butte on March 13.
"We're happier than heck with finishing fifth," Huse said. "Our guys really raised some a lot of eyebrows this year and we finished higher than where we were picked to finish."