Havre Daily News Sports Editor
It may have taken seven games, but the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team finally found out how the other half lives. Less than 24 hours after the Lights thrashed Minot State University, Northern suffered a shocking loss to Valley City State University in action over the weekend at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse in Havre.
The Vikings dealt the Lights their first loss of the season.
On Friday night, Northern squared off against what was supposed to be a very dangerous Minot State team, the current two-time defending Dak-10 champions.
The Lights quickly put the Beavers in a huge first-half hole on their way to a 98-57 romp in front of a boisterous crowd. Northern jumped out to a 40-26 halftime lead, and got a game-high 24 points from both Jordan Mathews and Marcus Wilson en route to the easy win over the Beavers.
“I was a little surprised by the final score,” MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. “Minot is a very good team, and I know they will play us much tougher when we go out there this weekend.
“But we came out and just played really well right from the start,” he added.
Not only did the Lights get 48 points combined from Mathews and Wilson, but they got an added 12 from reserve Ronnie Simpson, as well as nine apiece from sophomores Cory Brothers and Cody Gillespie.
“I was really pleased with the way we played all the way around,” Huse said. “We played great defense. It is the kind of defense that we will need when we get into conference play. It was just a really good team win for us.”
As good as things were for the Lights on Friday night, things couldn't have gone worse against Valley City State on Saturday afternoon. Northern's tenacious defense failed to appear for the first 30 minutes of the game, as the upstart Vikings built leads as large as 15 points midway through the second half.
The Lights managed to claw their way back into the contest and by the final minute found themselves trailing by only two points, 62-60, after a furious 10-0 run shaved the Viking lead. Northern had two chances in the final 12 seconds to win or tie the game, but Mathews' 3-point attempt came up short and Ronnie Simpson's offensive rebound never turned into a final shot as time expired.
“Give all the credit to Valley City State,” Huse said. “They played a great game.
Huse admitted that Northern came out flat, and wasn't able to pick itself up after the highly charged win over Minot State on Friday night.
“I just felt like we never got in sync,” he said. “We were very impatient offensively, and we seemed to panic a little bit when things weren't going our way and we found ourselves in a tight, low- scoring game.
MSU-N got another fine game from Mathews, who scored a team-high 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Simpson also had his best scoring game of the season, adding 14 points and seven boards.
The Vikings were paced by Joel Carter's game-high 19 points. No other Viking scored in double figures, but four more players scored seven or more points.
“This was a good two games for us,” Huse said. “We beat a very good team on Friday night, and we had a very good learning experience on Saturday.”
The Lights (6-1) will travel to Minot, N.D., on Saturday for a rematch with the Beavers. Northern's scheduled game with Dickinson State University has been changed from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
Lights 98, Beavers 57
Minot State - Courtney Haley 6-12 3-5 15, Charles Rourk 1-3 0-0 3, Jordan Cooper 3-9 1-4 7, TJ Collins 3-7 1-2 7, Jeremy Feller 4-7 1-1 9, Drew Hjsjulien 1-1 0-0 3, Tagg Williams 2-6 0-0 5, Maurice Wright 1-2 1-1 3, Aboubacar Conde 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 23-63 7-13 57
MSU-N - Reid Stovall 4-7 0-0 8, Marcus Wilson 10-14 4-4 24, Jordan Mathews 10-19 2-3 24, Cory Brothers 4-13 1-3 9, Brian Erickson 1-1 4-4 6, Leo Bullchild 2-3 0-0 4, Cody Gillespie 3-5 2-2 9, Ronnie Simpson 5-7 1-3 12, Adrian Nelson 1-2 0-2 2. Totals: 40-73 12-23 98.
3-point goals - Minot State 4-17 (Rourk 1, Cooper 1, Hysjulien 1, Williams 1), MSU-N - 6-16 (Mathews 2, Gillespie 3, Simpson 1). Total fouls - Minot State 20, MSU-N 45, Rebounds - Minot State 37, MSU-N 45. Fouled out - none.
Vikings 62, Lights 60
Valley City State - Steve Trudeau 3-3 1-1 7, Brandon Bata 3-8 0-0 7, Joel Carter 4-10 0-0 9, Brady Ernst 6-9 6-8 19, Jackson Sussex 2-7 1-2 6, Mike Stowman 1-4 1-4 3, Stephen Howard 4-5 1-2 9, Zac Wolfe 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 24-54 11-21 62.
MSU-N - Marcus Wilson 3-8 0-0 6, Yanif Ducreay 2-2 1-2 5, Jordan mathews 7-18 3-4 18, Cory Brothers 5-7 1-2 11, Brian Erickson 1-4 00-0 2, Reid Stovall 1-3 0-0 2, Ronnie Simpson 3-7 7-12, 14, Adrian Nelson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 23-58 12-22 60.