By Kim Staudinger
After seeing their lady counterparts pull off an upset, the University of Great Falls Argos appeared to have the same thing on their mind in hopes of knocking off the Montana State University-Northern Lights.
But, despite leading by five points at three different points in the first half, the Argos were outpowered in the second half, falling to the Lights 108-80 Saturday night at the Northern gym.
Unlike the game before, the Lights and Argos showed shooting was a strength for them, as both teams individually scored more in the first half than did the Skylights and Lady Argos combined in their first half.
While the first half of this game was tight UGF led 49-48 at the half the second half was nowhere near close. The Lights shot an outstanding 67.9 percent from the field in the second half en route to 60 points to 31 for the Argos.
A big difference between the first and second half for the Lights was rebounding. The Argos outrebounded the Lights in the first half and were able to get many second and third-chance baskets. Another key in the second half was free throws. Northern was a perfect 21 for 21 at the line, compared with Great Falls, which made 21 free throws the entire game.
The Lights held a 60-58 lead at the 15:46 mark in the final period of play before a huge turnaround took place. Bob Samuelson scored with a lay-up to tie the game, but immediately after got a technical foul called against him.
Jeff Graham shot, and made, both free throws off the technical foul. Minutes later Josh Hays scored with a turnaround jumper and Faheem Nelson got a putback off a Jermaine Walton miss to put the Lights up by six and force Argos coach Mike Geniesse to call a timeout.
Hays scored once more before John Paul Geniesse got UGF back on the board with a short jump shot. Before Great Falls was able to score again, the Lights had taken a 15-point lead. The lead only got bigger after that point, allowing Lights coach Brian Harrell to use every player on his bench. Every player but one scored at least two points for the Lights in the win.
"I thought we played great in the second half," Harrell said. "The second half was a total team effort from top to bottom."
Hays was an unstoppable force under the basket for the Lights, draining all eight of his attempts in the second half.
"They never decided to double team him," Harrell said of Hays, who led all scorers with 25 points. "They didn't have an answer for him."
The Lights and Skylights resume action Thursday on the road at Tech and Saturday against Western.
Argos Bo Scott 5, J.P. Geniesse 6, Danny Ball 7, Dustin Miller 13, Dave Jensen 8, Andy Anderson 6, Bob Samuelson 4, Wayne Racine 3, Dustin Lym 15, Will Butler 9, Bryan Simanton 4.
Lights Jermaine Walton 23, Tabarus Phillips 2, Spencer Lazosky 2, Uros Mirkovic 11, Jeff Graham 5, K.C. Moultrie 14, Jared Moultrie 3. E.J. Little 4, Kent Douglas 2, Faheem Nelson 12, Charlie Ereaux 5, Josh Hays 25.