Havre Daily News sports editor
It's time for a little payback. Or at least a little team growth.
The latter is what Montana State University-Northern men's basketball head coach Shawn Huse will be hoping for tonight when his team hosts the Dickinson State Blue Hawks at 7 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.
It was just five days ago that the Lights were defeated by the Blue Hawks, 79-70, in Dickinson. The loss was part of a three-game losing streak for the Lights, after starting the year a perfect 7-0. Tonight, Huse is hoping his team will start to turn things around.
“It is a unique opportunity for us to get to turn around and play the team that we just lost to,” Huse said. “We have a chance to learn from what happened in Dickinson and apply that to this game.
“I think you'll see our guys come out and play with a lot of fire and passion,” he added. “Because they feel like we are coming off of a tough road trip where we did not have our best performance, so they are going to give everything they have in this game.”
What happened to the Lights at DSU was a case of too many turnovers and not enough sound defense. The Lights started the season playing extremely strong defense, but that hasn't been the case lately. Combine that with 20 turnovers, and that was enough to translate into a win for the Blue Hawks last Sunday.
“I think both teams are very evenly matched and neither of us do anything really razzle-dazzle,” Huse said. “We both rely on being really fundamentally sound.
“For us to be successful, we need to get back to being very sound,” he added. “We have to take care of the basketball, and we have to do a better job of disrupting their offense. Which means we have to play much better defense.”
Disrupting DSU's offense means containing a host of outstanding talent. In last Sunday's win, the Blue Hawks got 24 points and 10 rebounds from 6-3 forward Donny English. Point guard Chad Glasser and power forward Ryan Rosvold chipped in with 17 points apiece. Those performances offset a scintillating night from the Lights' Jordan Matthews, who lit the Blue Hawks up for 34 points.
“We really have to be mindful of a couple of their guys,” Huse said. “Rosvold comes off the bench and gives them great scoring. He is a very good shooter with a really nice touch. They also have a point guard who can really shoot the ball well.
“Dickinson is just a very quick and athletic team,” Huse added. “I am sure that it is going to be another very good game between us.”
Of course, the Lights also have a very athletic team, which only adds to the fact that the two teams match up so evenly.
While Matthews has been the Lights' top scorer all season, junior college transfer Ronnie Simpson has also emerged as a serious scoring threat off the bench. Simpson has reached double digits in each of Northern's last four games.
“Ronnie is playing very good basketball right now,” Huse said. “He can just do so many things well.”
The Lights are also getting good production from the likes of senior Reid Stovall and sophomore Cody Gillespie.