By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The tricky thing about playing all-star teams in an exhibition game is that, well, they tend to turn into exhibition games filled with sloppy play, little if any defense and a breeding ground for bad habits.
The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team avoided most of the pitfalls of bad exhibition games to pick up a 119-98 win over the Montana All-Stars Saturday night at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
The Lights wore down an undermanned All-Star squad, grabbing an early 10-point lead in the first half and never relinquishing it.
"Exhibition games tend to get sloppy at times," said Northern head coach Shawn Huse. "In the last five minutes it got a little out of hand and you worry about picking up bad habits, but I thought our guys did a pretty good job of staying focused. But we did have our moments."
Indeed, there were some careless passes and a few missed dunks, which raised Huse's ire. But the overall performance was satisfactory.
"Defensively, we had some good moments," Huse said. "Their starting five is very talented and we did a good job defending them."
The All-Stars had little more than their starting five. With only six players, it was only a matter of time before fatigue and the waves of Northern players coming at them would wilt their legs.
Despite their lack of numbers, the All-Stars hung tough behind the play of former Purdue point guard Carson Cunningham and former MSU guard Jeff Riggs.
Cunningham sank six 3-pointers en route to 36 points. Riggs scored 24 points on a mixture of drives and short jumpshots. The All-Stars also got 16 points from former Carroll College star Kirk Stiles.
Northern was led by Berhane Williams with 22 points off the bench while Dustin Sawejka had 19 points and Larry Morinia chipped in with 17 points.
MONTANA ALL-STARS (98)
Shane Gamradt 2 3-4 7; Jeff Riggs 9 5-6 24; Dennin Gamradt 2 1-2 5, Kirk Stiles 5 2-2 16; Carson Cunningham 13 4-4 36; Aaron Rich 3 4-8 10. Totals: 34 19-26 98.
MSU-NORTHERN LIGHTS (119)
Larry Morinia 6 2-2 17; Zach McLean 4 0-0 9; Leo Bullchild 1 2-2 4; Walter Runsabove 5 0-0 14; Reid Stovall 4 2-2 10; Lamar Morinia 3 0-0 6; Landen Grant 2 1-2 7; Berhane Williams 9 3-4 22; Travis Moran 2 1-1 6; Dustin Sawejka 7 5-7 19; Trenton Harbaugh 2 2-4 6. Totals: 45 18-24 119.
Halftime: MSUN 63, MAS 44. Three point goals: MAS 11 (Stiles 4, Cunningham 6, Riggs 1), MSUN 11 (Larry Morinia 3, McLean 1, Runsabove 4, Grant 2, Moran 1).