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Lights excited about challenging schedule

Northern men to face tough teams like Montana State, Southern Oregon and Valley City State in 2017-18 hoops season


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Ryan Reeves and the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team will play a tough non-conference schedule this coming season, including a trip to Bozeman to play the Montana State Bobcats. The Lights also have 11 home games before January.

It's a long way to October and the start of the season for the Montana State University-Northern men's basketball season. Now, however, the Lights know exactly who they'll play in the upcoming season.

Earlier this week, veteran Northern head coach Shawn Huse released his schedule for the 2017-18 season, a schedule that features 11 home games this fall, as well as a rare trip to play the Montana State Bobcats in Bozeman. The slate also features some new twists to the Frontier Conference schedule.

"We have been able to land a good variety of teams and competition for our non-conference schedule next year," Huse said.

Northern opens the season Oct. 20-21 with back-to-back games against Mount Royal University inside the Armory Gymnasium. The Lights will then head to Bozeman for a Nov. 2 matchup with the Bobcats, and star guard Tyler Hall. MSU had a strong season a year ago, and with Hall one of the top returning scorers in the NCAA Division I, the Bobcats will be a huge test for the Lights.

The exhibition game against the Cats starts a stretch of road games for the Lights that will also take them to Pablo for a game against Salish Kootenai College Nov. 3, before a quick return home to host SAGU American Indian College Nov. 10. The Lights will then head to Klamath Falls, Oregon for a pair of games at the Oregon Tech Classic, including a matchup with Southern Oregon, an NAIA Division II national tournament team from a year ago.

Following the three-game stretch in Oregon, the Lights come back home to host the second annual Thanksgiving Classic, which will see Valley City State, Salish Kootenai and UGF as part of the field. Valley City is another tough NAIA DII opponent from the Northstar Athletic Association.

The Lights close out their non-conference schedule with home games against Yellowstone Christian College Dec. 7 and two bouts with Concordia University of Edmonton Dec. 29-30.

As for the Frontier schedule, this season will mark the third straight where league teams will play each other three times to make an 18-game conference slate. Northern begins league play at home with a visit from Rocky Mountain College Dec. 1 and defending Frontier champion Carroll College the following night. MSU-N will then open the new year's conference schedule with a home game against UGF on Jan. 2.

January will also see the Lights play four straight on the road, with trips to Montana Tech, Lewis-Clark State, UM-Western and Great Falls in a three-week stretch. The Jan. 17 game at UGF is a rare Wednesday night affair. Northern then closes out the month with home games against Tech, LCSC and Western. The Orediggers, Warriors and Bulldogs come to Havre just once this season.

February starts with four straight road games for the Lights before coming back home to host Carroll, RMC and UGF Feb. 21 for senior night. The Lights close out the regular season with a trip to Montana Tech Feb. 23.

The Frontier tournament will also have a different look this season. After two years of allowing only the top six to qualify for the postseason playoffs, the league will now have all seven teams back in the postseason. The tournament will still be held at campus sites of the higher seeded teams. It will run Feb. 28-March. 6.

"It is a challenging slate overall, which includes an exhibition contest with Montana State, a very tough Classic in Oregon, and quality opponents at home and on the road before, during, and after our Thanksgiving Classic (a yearly home event we are excited to keep going)," Huse said.  "These games should really help us prepare for the always-tough three-game series with each of our Frontier Conference opponents."

The Lights open their season at home Oct. 20.

2017-18 Lights Basketball Schedule

Oct. 20 vs Mount Royal

Oct. 21 vs Mount Royal

Nov. 2 at Montana State (Exhibition)

Nov. 3 at Salish Kootenai

Nov. 10 vs SAGU

Nov. 17 at Oregon Tech

Nov. 18 at Southern Oregon

Nov. 20 at Portland Bible

Nov. 24-25 Thanksgiving Classic

Nov. 24 vs Valley City State

Nov. 24 UGF vs Salish Kootenai

Nov. 25 vs Salish Kootenai

Nov. 25 UGF vs Valley City State

Dec. 1 vs Rocky Mountain

Dec. 2 vs Carroll College

Dec. 7 vs Yellowstone Christian

Dec. 29 vs Concordia of Edmonton

Dec. 30 vs Concordia of Edmonton

Jan. 2 vs UGF

Jan. 4 at Montana Tech

Jan 11 at Lewis-Clark State

Jan. 13 at UM-Western

Jan. 17 at UGF

Jan. 20 vs Montana Tech

Jan. 26 vs Lewis-Clark State

Jan. 27 vs UM-Western

Feb. 1 at Rocky Mountain

Feb. 3 at Carroll College

Feb. 8 at UM-Western

Feb. 10 at Lewis-Clark State

Feb. 16 vs Carroll College

Feb. 17 vs Rocky Mountain

Feb. 21 vs UGF

Feb. 23 at Montana Tech

Feb. 26-Mar. 6 Frontier Tournament

March 14-20 NAIA National Tournament


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