The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team needed to bounce back in a hurry. And while the nationally-ranked Westminster Griffins didn't make it easy, the No. 12 Lights did just that. Northern captured a win in its home finale as senior Devin Jackson scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds on senior night, leading MSU-N to an 85-81 win Saturday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
Saturday night's game wasn't just Jackson's senior night, or Northern's home finale, there was so much more at stake, for both the Lights and Griffins. Westminster was coming to Havre off back-to-back losses, while the Lights suffered a devestating blow against UM-Western Thursday night in Havre. And Saturday night had a playoff feel as the two squads traded baskets throughout the night. The Lights were hot early and led 21-11 on two three's by Jackson. Northern would hit six three's in all in the first half and lead 44-35. The game never slowed down either. Westminster's Jake Orchard scored 18 points in the final 20 minutes and he had the Griffins on the verge of a comeback in the final minutes. But the Lights responded with 16-19 from the free-throw-line in the final five minutes, which allowed them to keep the charging Griffins at bay.
Led by Jackson, the Lights had four players in doubel figures, while they went 10-for-16 from three and shot a sizzling 59 percent from the floor. Jesse Vaughan scored 16 points, Roshawn West scored 15 and Alfie Miller had 13 with three trey's. Orchard finished with a whopping 32 for the Griffins.
The Lights improved to 10-4 in league play and are a half game behind LC State in the Frontier standings with two games left. Northern leads third-place Western by one game and is up two games on fourth-place Westminster. The Lights play at fifth-place Rocky Mountain College Thursday night, then wrap up the regular season at Dickinson State Saturday.
For full coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.