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Lights get right back on the floor tonight

Northern resumes non-conference play by hosting Yellowstone Christian

 

December 7, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Devin Bray and the Montana State University-Northern Lights return to non-conference play tonight when they host the Yellowstone Christian Centurions at 7 inside the Armory Gymnasium. The Lights are in the midst of a nine-game home stand, which included last weekend's thrilling Frontier Conference games against Carroll and Rocky.

The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team just played two of the most grueling and intense Frontier Conference games the Lights may play all year. Now however, the Lights must quickly move on from their dramatic weekend.

Northern (7-3, 1-1) returns to non-conference action tonight when the Lights host Yellowstone Christian College in the Armory Gymnasium. The game comes on the heels of the Lights incredible overtime home stand against Rocky Mountain College and Carroll College, in which the Lights beat RMC last Friday night and fell to Carroll Saturday night.

In those games, Northern scored 90 points each night, and combined, had to play an extra 10 minutes of basketball. And while Northern topped the Battlin' Bears in comeback fashion, Carroll outlasted the Lights just 24 hours later, in a game, which saw not one, but two buzzer beaters at the end of the regulation.

"You can always look back and think of 100 different things you wish, or might do differently in a game like that," Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. "But at the end of the day, we're going to use this game, and learn from it, and get right back on the horse because we know, moving forward, there's a lot of tough Frontier Conference games ahead of us."

The Lights will have plenty more tough Frontier battles this season, but for now, they turn their attention to finishing their non-conference slate, all at home, starting with Yellowstone Christian tonight.

"It's good to have this game to keep us moving forward and keep us as sharp as possible ... and it's especially nice that Yellowstone is coming here as final projects and final exams wrap up this week and next," Huse said. "Finishing the semester strong in the classroom is always important - being able to do that while at home and not on the road really helps."

But home court advantage won't be the only thing the Lights will need on their side tonight. The Centurions will be a strong opponent, and they won't be intimidated by playing a Frontier Conference team, because they've already played five of them this season. Yellowstone has already had games against Carroll, Rocky, Montana Tech, Providence and UM-Western, and they've also played NCAA Division II Montana State-Billings. So a loaded schedule will have the Centurions prepared for tonight's game in the Armory.

The Centurions are a young team, and are undersized, but they do look to the likes of 6-7 Kenny Rubaduka and 6-6 Joseph Hooker for production in the paint. They also have an array of talented guards, and they play a fast-paced game.

"They are a very active, patient bunch whose guards can do a great deal of damage," Huse said.

Of course, Yellowstone will have its hands full with a Lights' squad coming in averaging 97 points per game. And with a lack of size in the paint, Northern center Ryan Reeves could be in for a big night. Reeves is averaging 17 points nine rebounds and an NAIA best four blocked shots per contest. The Lights also have six players scoring double figures, with Gabe Porter at 15, Adam Huse and Justin Dunsmore at 14 each, Charles Porter at 13 and Devin Bray scoring 10 per night. MSU-N also shoots an incredible 44 percent from the 3-point-line, which is second in the NAIA and Northern's 14 three's per game is tops in the country.

But as good as the Lights are offensively, and defensively for that matter, Northern isn't taking anything for granted. And while Yellowstone might be out-manned tonight, the Lights won't overlook the Centurions. Instead, Northern will be hungry and ready, especially after Saturday's emotional loss to the Fighting Saints.

"We are preparing hard this week as we know we need to be ready to go from the tip if we are going to have a successful night," Huse said.

Tonight's game between Northern and Yellowstone Christian tips at 7 inside the Armory Gymnasium. The Lights are home again next Saturday when they host Nueta Hidatsa. MSU-N also has a pair of home games scheduled for after Christmas.

 

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