George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The Montana State University-Northern Lights have played outstanding defense thus far this season, leading to six straight victories. But on Wednesday night in Missoula, the Lights found out how the other half lives. In a nonconference game at the Adams Center, the Lights got the clamps put on them by Big Sky Confererence favorite Montana in a 72-47 loss. The loss at UM was the second straight for the Lights, and in both meetings with the Grizzles, MSU-N failed to score 50 points. Things didn’t look bad for Northern early on as the Lights opened a six-point first-half lead thanks to the 3-point shooting of senior Delvaughn Tinned, who scored 14 of MSU-N’s first 20 points. And with 8:20 remaining in the first half, Northern was thinking upset, leading 20-16. But the Griz weren’t to be outdone, and they turned up their defense just enough to shut down Tinned, and overcome the sluggish start. UM outscored MSU-N 13-7 down the stretch to lead 29-27 at halftime. And in the second half, the Griz shot 59 percent from the floor, forced 12 turnovers by the Lights and owned the boards by the tune of 21-11 to win going away. Montana got hot early in the second half, especially point guard Matt Martin who scored all 13 of his points in the first eight minutes. UM also hit all five of its 3-pointers in the second stanza, and by the time the onslaught was over, the Griz led 53-26. As for MSU-N, the second half was a struggle. After scoring 14 points, Tinned went the next 28:24 without a basket. After the good start, the Lights wound up shooting just 35 percent from the floor, while UM boosted its shooting percentage in the second half. The Griz got a game-high 19 points from Jordan Hasquet. Hasquet was 6-of-8 from the field and also pulled down eight rebounds. UM had five players reach double figures as Martin and Cam Rundles each scored 13 and Andrew Strait scored 12. Kyle Sharp and Brian Qvale each pulled down 10 rebounds, and both played outstanding defense in the paint. Tinned’s 14 points led the way for MSU-N. The Lights also got 11 points from Andrew Sellars and junior guard Travis Noble chipped in with nine points. Sellars and Noble did each connect on three 3-pointers. The victory pushed the Grizzlies earlyseason record to 2-1, and they will host South Dakota State on Saturday night. Northern (6-1) won’t be back in action until Wednesday when the Lights travel to Pocatello, Idaho to play the Idaho State Bengals.