By Rob Everingham
LEWISTON, Idaho It was a whole lot closer than last weekend. Mel Stubblefield connect on a pair of free throws with five second left in the game to lift MSU-Northern to a 71-69 win over Westminster. The two were paired up in the first round of the Frontier Conference Tournament.
This is the third time this year the Lights have downed the Griffins.
Chad Meyer connected on a pair of free throws with 2:35 remaining to give Northern a 67-62 lead.
Westminster's Mitch Montgomery though came down and hit a 3-pointer with 1:51 left, cutting the Lights lead down to 67-65.
With 1:26 left Keith Carothers put Northern back up by four points at 69-65 after a pair of free throws.
Brandon Fries, who led the Griffins in scoring last weekend against the Lights, hit two free throws with 1:09 remaining to pull Westminster with in a bucket. Northern was unable to produce any point and Fries found his way back to the free throw line and hit two more clutch free throws to tie the game at 69-69.
The Lights then brought the ball down the floor and Stubblefield was fouled by Levi Gines with five second left.
Even at the half the game was a close one with Northern leading 29-28.
It was a much different game than the one the two team finished the regular season with. There were 11 ties and neither team could build anything bigger than a seven point lead in the game.
The Lights were again led by senior Powell Becker, who finished with 15 points, pulled down five rebounds and had five assists. Also in double figures for the Lights were Stubblefield who had 12. Carothers and Dustin Endsley each added 11.
In the single elimination tournament the Lights now face Rocky Mountain College today.
Rocky and Northern have had a season full of good match-ups this season. In Billings, the Bears and Lights opened the conference season in a game that ended with Rocky winning in overtime. The game in Havre was a different story as the Bears controlled the game and won big.
The other semi-final game will see Western Montana takes on Lewis-Clark State. The Bulldogs stunned Carroll College yesterday with a 54-53 win off a Josh Frunz basket with six second left.
The winners of the semi-final games will meet tomorrow night in the championship game at 8 p.m. The championship game will be televised locally on AT&T Cable, channel 19.
MONTANA ST.-NORTHERN 71,
WESTMINSTER, UTAH 69
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE (12-15)
Gines 1-2 2-2 5, Montgomery 7-11 2-2 22, Fries 3-13 6-6 13, Davis 7-12 1-2 15, Iorg 4-6 0-0 8, Peirce 1-6 0-0 2, Ishihara 0-1 0-0 0, Dahl 0-0 0-0 0, Bentley 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 25-54 11-12 69.
MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN (19-12)
Keller 4-6 1-1 9, Claxton 2-7 0-0 5, Stubblefield 4-6 3-4 12, Becker 5-9 5-5 15, Carothers 3-9 3-4 11, Stacy 0-0 0-0 0, Endsley 3-4 3-3 11, Calverly 0-0 0-0 0, Meyer 3-6 2-2 8, Serafimoski 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-49 17-19 71.
HalftimeNorthern 29, Westminster 28. 3-point goalsWestminster 8-19 (Montgomery 6-9, Gines 1-2, Fries 1-4, Ishihara 0-1, Peirce 0-3), Northern 6-15 (Endsley 2-2, Carothers 2-5, Stubblefield 1-2, Claxton 1-4, Keller 0-1, Becker 0-1). ReboundsWestminster 29 (Davis 9), Northern 25 (Claxton, Becker 5). AssistsWestminster 14 (Gines), Northern 17 (Carothers 5). Total foulsWestminster 18, Northern 18. ANA.