Nearly three weeks had gone by since the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team had played in a game.
So Northern head coach Shawn Huse expected some rust from his No. 25 Lights as they traveled to Camrose, Alberta for a two-game series with Augustana College. And while the Lights did feel some effects from the layoff, it didn't show in the win-loss column as MSU-N pummeled Augustana in both games.
"Our kids played very well after the layoff," Huse said. "I was very pleased with the effort we got from everybody."
The Lights played Fiba Rules against Augustana, which meant a 24-second shot clock and four quarters among other things. But in neither game did rules changes slow the Lights down.
On Friday night, Northern hammered the Vikings 107-74 in an offensive explosion. The Lights scored 55 points in the first half and drilled 10 3-pointers for the game, and shooting-wise, they showed no ill-effects from the long layoff.
MSU-N had five players reach double figures on Friday with David Maddock coming off the bench to scorch the nets for a career-high 30 points. Maddock went 5-of-6 from three and a sparkling 10-for-11 from the floor en route to his huge night. LaVon Myers also had a big game, scoring 19 points, while Devin Jackson and Joe Simpson each chipped in 14. Jordan Harris added another boost off the bench by scoring 11 points, while Chris Brown had eight points and Shaun Tatarka grabbed seven rebounds.
"On Friday, David (Maddock) shot the ball extremely well, giving us a nice lift off the bench," Huse said. "We really won the game on offense Friday and on defense Saturday.
They (Vikings) had a hard time scoring against our very active group and could only muster up 53 points the second game."
Indeed. The Lights turned up the intensity on the defensive end Saturday in a 82-53 romp. Northern led 44-24 at the half and never looked back. The Lights also outrebounded the Vikings 38-33 and forced Augustana into a massive 27 turnovers.
In the second game, Northern made just three trey's but got a game-high 20 points from Jackson, while Tatarka poured in 17 points. Ben Mitchell came off the bench and had a strong showing for the Lights, scoring 11 points and corralling four boards.
And with Huse pleased with the way his team responded to its extended break, the Lights now turn their attention to a daunting road trip to the Lewis-Clark State Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho Dec. 17-18. While in Lewiston, MSU-N will face top-ranked Azusa Pacific as well as Portland Bible College.
"These were great games to help us get back into a rhythm after the break in games we've had," Huse said. "We are up against some big challenges next."
The Lights (6-3) next play at home Dec. 21-22 against Concordia University and King's University, respectively.