By Jess Green
The Montana State University-Northern Lights won their first game 95-90 by surging late against the University of Calgary Dinos. The exciting game started out with a bit of an unusual twist. The Dinos were forced to wear MSU-N jerseys after a minor mix up with their own.
With the Lights wearing white and the Dinos wearing maroon, the battle began. The Dinos captured the early 3-0 lead at 19:49 on the play of John Riad. David Sawyer put the Lights on the board shortly after to keep close early. Riad added another for the Dinos at 19:22 to make it 5-2.
At the 19:00 mark, the referees got into the game. By the end of the first half, there would be more than 35 personal fouls and six ejections, with the bulk of the calls going against the Dinos.
he impact of the aggressive play was felt on the scoreboard as well. The half would end with MSU-Northern on top 47-44. Of the 47 points for the Lights, 23 were as a result of free throws while only 8 of the 44 points for the Dinos were from the line.
The game ejections came with 3:52 left in the half. Northern's Bruce Stacy and Calgary's Sean Paterson were ejected for fighting. In the excitement Lights players Da'Vion Famber and Josh Larson, and Dinos players Richie Gill and Chris Harris came off of the bench resulting in the additional ejections.
It is hard to say what impact these players would have had in the second half. Up to the point of the ejections the six men combined for only five points in the game.
Lights players who did have a major scoring impact in the first half were Keith Carothers, Josh Hays, Chad Meyer, and K.C. Moultrie. Carothers put up 14 first half points while his teammates Hays, Meyer, and Moultrie added ten, seven, and six, respectively.
For the Dinos, John Riad was outstanding with 22 first half points. Riad's first half scoring included two three-pointers and he was four for four at the free throw line.
The Lights came out of the gates with a vengeance in the second half. They outscored the Dinos 19-8 in the first five minutes of the second. David Sawyer led the assault on the scoreboard. Sawyer accounted for 11 of those 19 points.
The Dinos made a dramatic turn-around. Down 66-52 with about 15 minutes left, they brought in the 6 ft. 4 in. guard, Jeff Loomis. Loomis hit two three-pointers in row at 14:45 and 14:26.
His scoring streak did not stop there though, he would follow it up by stealing the ball and adding two more points at 14:12, and then hitting another three point shot at 13:40. Already having cut the Lights lead to 66-59, Lights coach Tim Walker
called a time out to regroup his team.
After the break, Loomis made the crowd wonder if he had an "S" on his chest by driving the net, sinking the lay-up and drawing the foul. With the addition of the free throw to complete the three point play, he had virtually eliminated the Dinos deficit.
Sparked by their teammate, the Dinos reached a 76-71 second half lead with 6:54 left on the clock. At 6:48, the Dinos received their tenth foul. The Lights began to capitalize on their free throw opportunities. With 4:32 left, Keith Carothers put in two free throw attempts to make the score 81-80 with the Lights down by only one.
Derek Renee put the Lights back on top with a field goal at 4:13. Renee followed his shot up with a steal and another two points.
However, the Dinos weren't about to roll over. With only 1:30 left on the clock, the teams found themselves tied at 88 points apiece.
These last 90 seconds belonged to the Lights. They came out and played great defense while capitalizing on the Dinos aggressive play by putting up five of six
free throws in these last seconds.
Coach Tim Walker credits the Dinos as being a good team that plays very physical ball.
"They weren't going to be intimidated," coach Walker said.
The game had to refereed that way," Walker said of the many game fouls.
In fact, Walker admitted that he felt there could have been more called.
Walker connected the second half success of Jeff Loomis to the fact that the Lights had a poor match-up on him and that they were getting tired. At the point in the game when Loomis enjoyed his streak, the Lights had most of the same players in that started the half.
Coach Walker and the Lights team would like to extend their gratitude to Cheryl Darlington, owner of Perfect Ten Nail Salon, for support. Darlington of Perfect Ten Nail Salon was the sponsor for last nights game.
"She does a good job there," Walker said chuckling, "so I hear."
The Lights next challenge will be this same University of Calgary Dinos team. The two will face off again Friday night at 8 p.m. in the U. of C. red gym. The Lights will also see action at 8 p.m. on Saturday night when they play Mount Royal College in Calgary.