By Ryan Divish
The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team will look to start and end a streak tonight as it takes the floor against the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks tonight in the first game of the Medicine Hat College Invitational basketball tournament.
After picking up an 86-68 win last Sunday over the University of Saskatchewan, Northern will try to get a winning streak together before opening the conference season next week in Great Falls.
Besides starting their own win streak, the Lights would like to end NAIT's very lengthy winning streak.
The Ooks are a perfect 22-0 on the season, with a stellar 12-0 record in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and ranked second in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.
NAIT returns seven players off of last year's ACAC championship team that also played in the CCAA national tournament.
The Ooks are led by a quartet of players that average double figures. Slav Kornik, Loren Balon, Leif Puffer and Nathaniel Scheafer all average around 14 points per game for NAIT.
Puffer, Balon and Scheafer are all returners from last year's squad while Kornik is a talented newcomer.
Much like Northern, NAIT isn't a big squad. The Ooks don't play with a true center instead they use a three-guard attack.
On Friday, things don't get much easier for Northern as they take on the Lethbridge Community College Kodiaks.
LCC leads the ACAC South Division with a 9-1 record and is ranked fourth in the CCAA. The Kodiaks shoot a quality 50 percent from the field while averaging nearly 80 points per game.
LCC has three players averaging in double figures led by Liav Peled's 14 points per game. Along with Peled, Mike Bartos and Mike Nieboer average 12 and 11 points per game, respectively.
Northern will round out the tournament on Saturday with a rematch with the Medicine Hat College Rattlers. They swept the Rattlers in a pair of games on Oct. 18 and 19. However, in both games, a Medicine Hat team kept the game close until late in the second half.
MHC is led by Scott Coulthard and Mike Humphrey. Coulthard averages 12 points per game and can score from a variety of ways inside and out. Humphrey is MHC's best outside shooter and leads the Rattlers in assists dishing out 4.7 per game.