Make it a perfect start for the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team. On Friday night in Havre, the Lights put the clamps on a very good Rocky Mountain College team, 71-59, improving to 3-0 in Frontier Conference play in the process. The No. 22 Lights are now 3-0 in league play and a stellar 15-2 overall.
Unlike in Thursday night's win over Dickinson State, Northern got off to a great start against RMC. Jesse Vaughan 11 points in the first seven minutes, while the Lights got two big three's from junior Mike LaValley, and led 43-35 at intermission. Rocky closed the gap to 55-51 with eight minutes to go, but crucial 3-pointers from Roshawn West and LaValley put the Lights back in front by double-digits, and they were able to pull away from the Battlin' Bears from there.
In all, the Lights made 11 triples, while the Bears made just two. Northern also out-rebounded a much bigger Rocky team, 37-31, and the Lights won the turnover battle, committing just six to Rocky's 13. Devin Jackson scored a game-high 20 points for Northern, while Vaughan finished with 15. West nailed three trey's and scored 11 points, and LaValley added three bombs to score nine. West and Will Perry also led on the boards with six each, while the Northern defense held RMC 17 points below its season average.
The Lights will now take their unbeaten conference record on the road for a pair of huge games next week. Northern will travel to Dillon to take on arch rival UM-Western Thursday night, then will play at Westminster on Saturday in a showdown of nationally-ranked powers.
For full coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.