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Northern men hang on for win against Minot State, fall to Dickinson State

 


When you're on the road, no lead is safe, not five, not 10 or even 20 points. The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team found that out this weekend. The Lights held leads as big as 20 points in each of their two road games this weekend but only escaped North Dakota with one win.

A week after watching a 9-point lead dissipate in 21 seconds in a 104-103 loss to Minot a week ago. Northern saw the Beavers erase a 20-point second half lead in the last 10 minutes of the game on Saturday. But, the Lights weren't about to let this one slip away. Northern sank some clutch free throws down the stretch to hold onto a 105-99 victory.

"In the second half, I told our guys to stop paying so much attention to the score," said head coach Shawn Huse. "I thought that in our last game against Minot they got caught up watching the scoreboard instead of just playing."

It's a good thing, because the Lights wouldn't have liked to watch their lead slowly dwindle to two points with around three minutes to play. Minot took the rhythm out of the game by fouling Northern to stop the clock and using all of its allotted timeouts while sinking some clutch three-pointers late.

"We knew they were going to make a run at us," Huse said. "They have too many weapons not to make a run. It was like a totally different ballgame late in the game. There was no pace to the game."

Northern didn't do itself any favors shooting 29-50 from the free-throw line in the game. However, when the Lights really needed it, the free throws fell to hold on to the win.

"We did a pretty good job of making free throws at the end when we needed to," Huse said.

Northern got a game-high 26 points and five assists from Larry Morinia and 21 points from brother Lamar. Reid Stovall also had a solid game with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Trenton Harbaugh had 10 points, eight rebounds and a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch. Dustin Sawejka chipped in with 14 points off the bench.

Huse was also pleased with the defense of junior Landen Grant, who guarded Minot State shooting guard Jeff Brandt for most of the night.

"Landen did a great job on Brandt," Huse said. "The crowd kind of goes as Brandt goes and Landen held him to just seven points in the first half. He really played smart defensively."

Brandt still finished with 23 points, most of those coming late in the game while Lloyd Flanders and Kent Bloms scored 21 and 19 points for Minot.

On Sunday against Dickinson State, Northern once again led by 20 points, but it was a little different situation. Northern grabbed a 22-2 lead to open the game. But, an early lead against a team as explosive as DSU on its home floor is difficult.

The Bluehawks erased the deficit late in the first half and grabbed a 43-36 halftime lead, thanks to 14 first-half turnovers.

"You can't turn the ball over that many times and expect to hold any type of lead against a team like Dickinson," Huse said. "We knew they were going to turn up the pressure defensively once they got down big. But we didn't do a very good job of handling it. We were soft with the basketball."

Northern also didn't do itself any favors with poor shot selection against the pressure.

"It really forces you to take quick shots," Huse said. "But the shots we were taking weren't good shots. They were off-balanced and forced. We needed to be under control, but when they started trapping things got out of control."

The Lights still had opportunities at the end, but didn't have the energy to overcome the deficit at the end.

"It looked as though our guys were mentally tired and physically worn out after having to play a tough game against Minot the night before," Huse said. "It's not an excuse for losing, but it definitely played a part in it."

Northern got 21 points apiece from the Morinias and 12 from Grant. Sawejka had 12 points while Harbaugh had seven points and 14 rebounds.

The Lights will host another North Dakota school from the DAC-10 conference as the University of Mary Marauders will be in Havre on Friday.

MSU-NORTHERN (105)

Reid Stovall 5-10 5-9 15; Landen Grant 3-5 2-6 9; Larry Morinia 9-16 6-8 26; Lamar Morinia 8-11 2-4 21; Trenton Harbaugh 3-7 4-8 10; Zach McLean 0-1 5-8 5; Leo Bullchild 2-4 0-0 4; Walter Runsabove 0-0 0-0 0; Travis Moran 0-2 1-3 1; Dustin Sawejka 5-10 4-4 14. Totals: 35-66 29-50 105.

MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY (99)

Kent Bloms 8-15 2-2 19; Khalid Loda 3-6 1-1 7; Lawrence Conner 1-5 2-2 4; Chad Jacobson 6-10 2-2 17; Jeff Brandt 6-13 9-10 23; Lance Allerdings 0-0 0-0 0; Qasim Ward 3-5 0-0 6; Steve Grabowski 0-6 2-2 2; Lloyd Flanders 7-11 6-10 21; Jeremy Feller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 34-72 24-29 99.

Halftime: MSUN 58, MSU 48. Three point goals: MSUN 6-16 (Stovall 0-1, Grant 1-2, Larry Morinia 2-5, Lamar Morinia 3-6, McLean 0-1, Bullchild 0-1), MSU 7-22 (Bloms 1-4, Jacobson 3-5, Brandt 2-6, Ward 0-1, Grabowski 0-4, Flanders 1-2). Rebounds: MSUN 35 (Stovall 10, Harbaugh 8); MSU 36 (Flanders 9) Assists: MSUN 16 (Larry Morinia 5); MSU 16 (Jacobson 4). Total fouls: MSUN 22, MSU 34. Fouled out - Conner, Sawejka; Technicals - none.

MSU-NORTHERN (93)

Larry Morinia 5-11 9-10 21; Lamar Morinia 8-15 4-6 21; Landen Grant 4-8 4-6 12; Dustin Sawjeka 4-10 2-3 10; Trenton Harbaugh 3-8 1-2 7; Zach McLean 0-2 0-0 0; Leo Bullchild 0-2 2-2 2; Walter Runsabove 2-2 2-3 6; Reid Stovall 1-2 0-0 2; Berhane Williams 1-3 1-2 3; Travis Moran 3-4 3-4 9. Totals: 31-67 24-32 93.

DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY (97)

Omar Smith 1-4 0-0 2; Cameron Rowland 4-6 2-5 11; Scott Klaudt 3-11 1-2 7; Kasey Ulin 7-21 6-8 22; Jake Schmitz 1-4 0-0 2; Willie Hall 4-4 1-3 9; Josh McLeod 2-3 0-1 4; Konrad Tota 9-12 9-11 27; Beau Pilon 3-7 4-4 11; Derek Miller 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 35-73 23-34 97.

Halftime: DSU 43, MSUN 36. Three point goals: MSUN 7-20 (Larry Morinia 2-5, Lamar Morinia 1-6, Grant 4-7, Bullchild 0-1, Moran 0-1), DSU 4-18 (Smith 0-2, Rowland 1-1, Klaudt 0-2, Ulin 2-9, McLeod 0-1, Tota 0-1, Pilon 1-2). Rebounds: MSUN 45 (Harbaugh 14); DSU 47 (Ulin 10)

 

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