If anyone had a reason to fear an emotional letdown, it was the Montana State University-Northern Lights. After all, Northern was turning around to play a non-conference game with New Hope Christian just 24 hours after thumping rival Carroll College at home.
But instead of faltering, the Lights kept on chugging along as they bounced the Deacons 82-67 Saturday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
"The guys are really clicking right now," MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. "They are really having fun playing together . And they came out very focused and determined in this game. It was really a lot of fun to watch how well they played together again."
The victory over New Hope pushed the Lights' overall record to 11-2 as they head into an extended break. And the win was eerily similar to how the Lights trumped Carroll just one night earlier.
After making 12 3-pointers against the Saints on Friday night, the Lights poured in 15 three’s against the Deacons, while shooting 58 percent from the field, 53 percent from beyond the arc, and making 9-of-10 free throws.
"I thought we once again did a really good job of sharing the ball offensively," Huse said. "And as a result, we got really good looks against their (Deacons) length. Guys not only made the extra pass, but a second extra pass to make sure we got the best possible shot. And we made them.
"And I thought we did a really good job of disrupting them defensively," he added. "They (Deacons) are talented and they are certainly much bigger than we are. So I was really proud of the way we played them defensively and kind of took away a lot of what they do well."
The Lights wasted little time getting going Saturday night, as Roshawn West, Alfie Miller and Devin Jackson all buried triples as part of a 15-5 run by the Lights which gave them a 20-11 early on. New Hope, which is transitioning up to the NAIA, battled hard and fought back via an 11-2 run late in the first half, but Northern closed out the first 20 minutes with a Jackson three and two straight by Miller. The 9-0 spurt gave MSU-N a 38-27 halftime lead.
Though the Deacons continued to fight, MSU-N’s offense was just too much for them to overcome in the second half. Corbin Pearson and Mike LaValley combined for 21 points off the bench, while a Jesse Vaughan trey at the 5”14 mark gave MSU-N a 20-point lead at 74-54. And the Lights cruised home from there.
Jackson had a big night, scoring a game-high 18 points while dishing out four assists. He made three trey’s, while Miller hit five bombs after making five against Carroll the night before. He finished with 15 points, while Vaughan matched Pearson’s 12 points. LaValley’s nine points came by way of the 3-point-line, while West added eight and Will Perry grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
New Hope did have five players in double figures and went 9-of-18 from three, but the MSU-N defense forced the Deacons into 17 turnovers.
Northern will now have some time to rest before closing out the non-conference portion of their schedule with road games at Portland Bible College Dec. 20 and Linfield College Dec. 21, in Portland, Ore.
No hope for
Lights are 11-2 overall and 1-0 in the Frontier
Lights 82, New Hope 67
NHC – Harley Turner 3-4 3-3 11, Tarance Glyn 6-12 1-2 14, Forest Stolk 5-7 3-4 13, Drew Wiley 5-14 0-0 13, Corey Gantt 4-7 0-0 10, Bryce Sullivan 1-3 1-2, 3, Cameron Fry 1-4 0-0 3. Totals: 22-54 8-11 67.
MSU-N – Will Perry 3-5 0-0 6, Jesse Vaughan 4-8 2-2 12, Roshawn West 3-4 0-0 8, Devin Jackson 6-14 3-4 18, Alan Brown 0-1 2-2 2, Corbin Pearson 5-5 2-2 12, Dontae Clark 0-1 0-0 0, Savion Udeh 0-2 0-0 2, Mike LaValley 3-6 0-0 9, Pat Jensen 0-0 0-0 0, Alfie Miller 5-9 0-0 15, Anfernee Standing Rock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-55 9-10 82.
Halftime: Northern 38-27. 3-pointers: MSU-N 15-35 (Vaughan 2, West 2, Jackson 3, LaValley 3, Miller 5), NHC 9-18 (Turner 2, Glyn 1, Wiley 3, Gantt 2, Fry 1). Rebounds: MSU-N 22 (Perry 8), NHC 34 (Glyn 13). Fouls: MSU-N 8, NHC 8. Fouled out: None.