Montana State-Northern's Gabe Finley, right, shoots over a Great Falls defender during Friday night's game at the Armory Gymnasium.
At this point in the season, every Frontier Conference basketball game feels like a must-win. And both Montana State University-Northern hoops teams accomplished that Friday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
The No. 15 Skylights used a big second-half push to beat the University of Great Falls Argos 71-61 Friday night, while the Lights stormed back to beat the No. 24 Argos 54-51 in front of a raucous home crowd.
In the men's game, UGF had pulled ahead by as much as seven points in the second half of what was a defensive slugfest. However, two Alfie Miller 3-pointers, and a thunderous dunk by Corbin Pearson with 4:41 left helped propel Northern to a much-needed win. In the end, the Lights outscored the Argos15-7 in the final eight minutes to improve to 5-3 in the Frontier and 17-5 overall.
Pearson paced the Lights with 18 points and five rebounds, while Miller scored a game-high 19. Marcel Towns scored 18 to lead UGF, but missed several big shots down the stretch as Northern's defense kept him at bay.
Meanwhile, the Skylights finished the first half on a 15-5 run, then out-scored the Argos 48-44 in a wild second half to seal the 10-point victory. Northern shot 66 percent from the floor in the second half, and had four players reach double figures. In her battle with UGF center Lindsey Abramson, MSU-N's A'Jha Edwards scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Abramson was held to just six points and four boards, and was in foul trouble most of the night. MSU-N also got 19 points from Taylor Cummings, 15 by Natalee Faupel and 13 by Rachelle Bennett.
The Skylights are now 6-2 in league play and 16-4 overall. Both Northern teams make a return trip to play the Argos Thursday night in Great Falls. MSU-N also travels to Lewis-Clark State next Saturday.
For complete coverage, see Monday's HDN.