George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The Montana State University- Northern Lights have already played one Big Sky Conference school this season. And now the undefeated Lights are about do it again. Northern's challenging nonconference schedule, which included a 72-47 exhibition loss last Wednesday at the University of Montana, will now take the Lights to Pocatello, Idaho, tonight to square off against Idaho State University. And this game, unlike last week's Grizzly game, will count towards MSUN's perfect 6-0 record. MSU-N's last regular season game took place 10 days ago when the Lights beat Minot State University by 12 points in Minot, N.D. That win kept MSU-N undefeated on the season. But tonight's challenge of staying undefeated will be much more difficult against the NCAA Division I Bengals (1-3) ISU is off to a rough start this season, having lost three straight games following a season-opening win over Frontier Conference frontrunner Rocky Mountain College. But ISU's schedule hasn't been easy. The Bengals' three losses have come at the hands of Iowa, BYU and Long Beach State. So playing Northern tonight will be somewhat of a reprieve for the Bengals. However, MSU-N won't be an easy out for ISU. Against Montana, the Lights led for much of the first half, and trailed by just three points at intermission, prompting MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse to say it was one of the best halves of basketball a Northern team had ever played during his tenure in Havre. Still, the Lights will be up against it tonight. ISU isn't as big or physical as UM is, but the Bengals are long and athletic. Swingman Matt Stucki (6-6) leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and as a three-guard, he is a dangerous outside shooter. The Bengals also start 6-5 guard Amorrow Morgan, 6-6 guard Austin Kilpatrick, and 6-5 sharpshooter Logan Kinghorn. And is matchups won't be hard enough at the guard position for MSU-N, the Bengals are big enough in the paint. ISU boasts 6-11 Lucas Stein, 6-8 Chron Tatum and 6-8 Demetrius Monroe, causing the Lights even more matchup problems. Still, MSU-N's strengths this season should help them stay with ISU tonight. The Lights lead the Frontier in 3-point shooting, and senior Delvaughn Tinned is pouring in nearly 22 points per game so far. Fellow guards Travis Noble and Andrew Sellars are also shooting the ball well from beyond the arc, and forward Drew Pettersen and Derek Trembley are also capable of stepping out and knocking down big shots. Pettersen, Trembley, Clinton Shelton and Keegan Hoover will also be needed tonight in the paint. Against UM, the Lights were worn down by the Grizzlies' physical presence in the post, and although ISU isn't as big as Montana, the Bengals do possess a size advantage. Shelton will be key for the Lights, as he leads MSU-N in rebounds and is Northern's best post defender. Playing well in Idaho tonight is also key for the Lights, win or lose. Tonight's game is the start of a three-game road trip for MSU-N which will also take the Lights to a nonconference tournament in Dickinson, N.D. this weekend. In Dickinson, MSU-N will square off against Dickinson State University and UM-Western, before returning home for the AmericInn Classic next weekend in Havre. Tonight's game between Idaho State and MSU-Northern tips off at 6 p.m. in Pocatello, Idaho.