Havre Daily News sports editor
The Montana State University-Northern Lights may have saved their season last weekend when they upset both Lewis-Clark State and Westminster College in Havre.
Things were looking grim for the Lights heading into the weekend, but they found a way to get out of it by winning both games on last-second shots.
Now the Lights (7-6, 18-11) will try to hold on to that momentum with a win over the University of Great Falls (2-10, 9-18) on Saturday night.
The last time Northern was in a slump, it snapped out of it with a thrilling come-from-behind win at UGF back in January. In that game, MSU-N trailed the Argos by 14 points in the second half, but stormed back to win 95-90.
A win on Saturday night would give the Lights a season sweep of the Argos and Northern would finish no worse than fourth in the final conference standings.
If the Lights win, they will either face Rocky Mountain College or UM-Western in the opening round of the Frontier Conference tournament Wednesday in Butte.
The Argos come into Saturday night's contest with MSU-N tied with Montana Tech for last place in the league standings. Tech, however, has two opportunities this weekend to overtake the Argos.
Despite being in last place, and having just two conference wins, the Argos have proven that they can play with the league's best teams. They had MSU-Northern on the ropes for much of the game in January, and just last weekend UGF stunned LC State in Great Falls.
The Argos have plenty of offensive firepower too. UGF has one of the conference's leading player-of-the-year candidates in Tyrone Witherspoon. The 6-4 forward leads the league in scoring (17.9 ppg), field goal percentage (65 percent) and blocked shots (2.1 bpg). Witherspoon is also third in rebounds at seven per game.
Forward Eric Scott, who has only been active for a month, is also averaging in double figures in scoring and scored 24 points in the loss to the Lights last month. Reshaun Puryer is contributing with 13 points per outing.
The Argos also have the league's top point guard and a newcomer-of-the-year candidate in former Cut Bank star Keithan Gregg.
While Saturday is an important game for both teams, Northern will be playing at home for the last time. That means seniors Jordan Matthews, Reid Stovall, Pathe Yatera and Adrian Nelson will try to help guide the Lights to one last win in Havre.
Stovall has been a four-year workhorse for the Lights. The 6-5 senior from Belgrade has started, come off the bench and played several different positions over his four years as a Light.
Matthews, who is third in the conference in scoring (17.3 ppg), has had a brilliant career at MSU-N. The transfer from Salt Lake City has led the Lights in scoring in each of the past two seasons, and he has been one of the league's top players since joining the MSU-N program.
Yatera transferred from UGF three years ago and redshirted during his first year at Northern. Last year he saw very limited action, but has been called upon this season to contribute in key situations. This is Nelson's only year of eligibility at Northern and he has been a steady role player all season long.
Saturday night's game between the Lights and Argos will get under way at 8 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse in Havre.