George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The month of November has not been easy for the Montana State University- Northern men’s basketball team. The Lights have played three NCAA Division I teams, and they have been on the road for three consecutive weekends. That long, grueling road trip ended this weekend with a trip to Lewiston, Idaho, for the Cannon’s Building Materials Tournament hosted by Lewis- Clark State. On Friday night, MSU-N took on the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA in Oklahoma City University. It was just another in a long line of tough opponents for the Lights, and although they played extremely well, MSU-N fell to the undefeated Stars , 65-53. “They are a great team and they certainly showed why they are the No. 2 team in the country,” MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. “They are big and physical, and they are very talented.” Oklahoma City established itself in the paint early, and led the Lights 37-31 at the half. The Stars pulled away a bit in the second half, but Huse was more than pleased with how his team played. “They stymied our offensive movement a bit and we ended up settling for some really tough shots,” Huse said. “We made some of them, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. “But I was proud of the way our kids played,” he added. “When you look at how they (OKCU) turned around and beat LC State by 30 points the next night, you have to be pleased with how our team played them. I really did feel like we played them tough and we had some chances to be in the game at the end.” Ronnie Simpson paced the Lights with 14 points, and Delvaughn Tinned chipped in with 10 points. The Stars had three players in double figures led by Duane John’s 13 points. John also grabbed nine rebounds. On Saturday night, the Lights rebounded with a relatively easy win over Oregon’s Corban College. The Lights grabbed control of the game midway through the first half, and led Corban 34-30 at halftime. Northern never relinquished the lead in the final 20 minutes and ended up earning an 80- 68 victory. “They were a lot different than the past three teams we had played,” Huse said. “They were very patient on offense, and we had to go out and turn up the pressure on them a little. Once we did that, we took control of the game, and it really wasn’t in doubt after that.” Simpson had another big night for the Lights as did senior Durwin Williams. Simpson came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points and pull down nine rebounds. Williams had his second double-double of the season by scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 boards. Tinned also was solid for MSUN, scoring 17 points. “Ronnie Simpson had a big weekend,” Huse said. “He was really our main scoring weapon all weekend and he was really consistent. It is nice to have a guy come off the bench and lead you in scoring. “Al in all, I am really happy with this team right now,” he added. “I thought we played really well both nights. This has been a really difficult November, and we have been on the road the whole time. I really like where this team is at right now.” MSU-N (5-4) will now prepare to host the AmericInn Classic on Friday and Saturday at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse in Havre. Northern will play The Kings University on Friday night and the University of Alberta Augustana on Saturday.