By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
Looking at the schedule a week ago, tonight's game for the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team could have easily been construed as a recipe for an upset.
With the Frontier Conference opener on Saturday, tonight's game against the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology could have been an easy one for the Lights to look past, especially with their past success against teams in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
However, that mentality changed considerably following Saturday night's disappointing 93-92 overtime loss to Mount Royal College in Calgary. Now, the Lights will be out to atone for a subpar performance against SAIT.
"I think it's pretty safe to say that our guys won't be looking past this game," said head coach Shawn Huse.
Huse was far from pleased with his team's performance in the last game and he expects his team to play with intensity and much more focus.
"After you have four or five games in a row where you take some short cuts and still win, it's easy to develop some bad habits," Huse said. "After watching the game film, there isn't any secret why we lost. It wasn't one or two bad plays, there were plenty."
Northern will look to bounce back against an SAIT team that is 9-3 in the ACAC and is on a five-game winning streak.
The Trojans lead the ACAC in scoring at 85.7 points per game and are in third place behind league-leading Mount Royal.
The Trojans are led by guard Eddie Richardson, who is averaging 23.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game . Backcourt mate Joe Benjamin averages 14.2 points per game while 6-5 forward Darryl Reinhardt chips in with 13.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Former Browning standout Alden Spoonhunter is a freshman on the SAIT roster.
"They're a very well-coached team," Huse said. "They're coach (Craig Anderson) was at Lethbridge Community College last year. They're a well-disciplined team."
While Huse is obviously concerned with his opponents, he's more concerned with his own team and its reaction following a loss.
"We talk about and talk about paying attention to the little details like defending, boxing out and playing focused," Huse said. "We have to that tonight. It doesn't matter if we're playing an ACAC team, a Frontier Conference team or the Indiana Pacers."
In the beginning of the season, tonight's game may have seemed like just another tuneup for the conference season, but it now means just a little more.
"We don't have to wait a lot of time to come out and prove that we can play better than we did on Saturday night," Huse said. "I expect us to come out and prove that we are better than we showed."
Tonight's game will tip off at 8 p.m. at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.