The Montana State University-Northern men’s basketball team is coming off a rare loss.
Now the No. 15 Lights will get back on the road and try to get back in the win column – but they’ll have to do it against yet another Cascade Conference power.
Last Saturday night, the Lights wrapped up a three-game road trip in Oregon with a tough, 69-67 loss at Warner-Pacific, a Southern Oregon rival in the Cascade Conference. Tonight, the Lights (6-2) will square off against SOU in Lewiston, Idaho, as the Lights play the first of two games at the Lewis-Clark State Tournament.
SOU (1-1) comes into tonight’s game with the Lights having just knocked off No. 25 Fresno Pacific 96-89 last weekend in Fresno, Calif. So with that win in tow, Lights’ head coach Shawn Huse knows the Red Raiders will present big challenges tonight.
“They are a very good team,” Huse said of the Raiders. “They have really good size, a few big guys who can really play. And they have shooters. This is once again going to be a good team we’re playing from a very good Cascade Conference.”
The Lights are a good team too. But right now, Northern is suffering some early-season shooting woes. One of the top 3-point shooting teams I the country a year ago, the Lights are barely shooting over 30 percent from beyond the arc this season. But with pure shooters in Shaun Tatarka, Devin Jackson, LaVon Myers and David Maddock, it will only be a matter of time until the shots start falling for the Lights. And when that happens, Northern will get rolling because once again, the Lights are one of the top defensive teams in all of NAIA basketball. Northern is yielding just 60 points per game so far this season.
After the Lights take on the Red Raiders tonight, they’ll turn their attention to the University of Alberta-Augustana. Not much is known about Augustana, though the Lights have never lost to them under Huse.
Still, with a stout team like SOU on the schedule, Huse knows this is another big road test for his veteran team.
“Our November stretch of non-conference road games continues,” Huse said. “We have another short turnaround this week followed by another short turnaround next week, before we are finally back in our home gym. Needless to say, this stretch should make us hungry to play in our friendly Armory again."
The Lights take on SOU tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Lewiston, Idaho. Northern wraps up tournament play Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against Augustana.