If their first-round Frontier Conference playoff game was the last time the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team will play in Havre this season, then the Lights gave their home fans a fond fairwell. On Tuesday night at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse in Havre, the third-seeded Lights downed sixth-seeded Lewis-Clark State 78-71 to advance to the Frontier semifinals. Northern improved to 22-9 on the season and will travel to second-seeded UMWestern on Friday night. "If this was our last game at home, I'm pleased with the way we finished it, regardless of what happens from here on out," MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. "It has been another great home season for us, we've made a lot of memories, and we are thankful with all the support we've gotten from the community and our fans. Tonight, we had a great crowd, and I think our guys definitely fed off that. I'm pleased with how we played tonight and proud of the game we put together." And Northern needed to play well to secure its sixth straight win over the Warriors (14-15) over the last two years, LC State, which also lost to MSU-N in last year's first round in Havre, looked determined to not allow that to happen again on Tuesday night. The Warriors kept things close early on, but a late first-half 3-pointer by MSU-N's Andrew Sellars capped off a 13-2 Northern run, and gave the Lights a 30-20 lead at halftime. LCS didn't go away in the second half either, but Northern's outside shooting was too much for the Warriors to overcome. With three's by Sellars, Justin Dennis and Eric Tisby in the first six minutes of the second half, the Lights built up a 15-point lead. The Warriors continued to battle, but never got closer than the seven-point final margin. The game got off to a bizarre start as Northern was assessed a technical foul during warmups and LCS shot the free throws before the opening tip. But the Lights quickly erased that deficit. "Give LC a ton of credit," Huse said. "A lot of times, teams in the bottom four have kind of packed at in at this point in the season, but they didn't do that by any means. They came in here and played very hard, and they played well. They made us work for everything we got." And what the Lights got was a shooting performance they had been looking for. Northern went 11-for-20 from three and shot 52 percent from the floor for the game. Sellars hit five three's and scored a game-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds. Tisby finished with 17 points and six assists and Dennis poured in 16 points. Devin Jackson gave the Lights nine points off the bench and Walynn Burgess had seven boards. LC State got 16 points from Markus Monroe in the Warriors' last game of the season. "Anyone is a lot better team when you're making 10 or 11 three's a game," Huse said. "But the way we shot the ball tonight was definitely a big boost, and everyone stepped up and contributed, Everybody made big shots at one time or another, and I thought Eric Tisby really controlled the game. I was really proud of the way he played. "Again, I was very pleased with how we played," he added. "It was nice to come out and see the guys so focused on the task. They were really focused in on this game and it showed out on the court tonight." Next up for the Lights is a trip to Dillon to face Western in the league semifinals on Friday night.
Round one: Lights take care of Warriors
Published: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
Click Here To See More Stories Like This