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Bomb's Away: Lights shine in debut

17 3-pointers propel Northern men to a season-opening win over Mount Royal

 

October 23, 2017

Before the Montana State University-Northern Lights' season debut, longtime MSU-N head basketball coach Shawn Huse knew a couple of things. One, the Lights were playing an unusually dangerous Mount Royal squad to open the season. And two, his Lights are going to be a very good 3-point shooting team.

Both of those thoughts came to fruition Saturday afternoon in the Lights' 95-80 season-opening win over the Cougars inside the Armory Gymnasium. Mount Royal played the Lights tough as nails, and at one point in the second half, trailed by just nine points. On the other hand, the Lights blitzed the Cougars with 17 triples, including seven from sophomore Adam Huse.

"Watching Mount Royal on film had me nervous," Shawn Huse said. "They are big and athletic and they shoot it really well. I was really impressed with the way they came in here and played. But I was really pleased with our guys, too. They played really well for a first game, and give them credit because they really dug in down the stretch and didn't allow this game to get any more interesting than it already was."

Adam Huse and Gabe Porter made things interesting in the first half when they bombarded the Cougars, a Canadian CIS squad, with trey after trey. Huse' fourth triple of the half capped a 17-3 Northern run, and Justin Dunsmore added one more bomb to send the Lights into halftime with a 52-34 lead.

"I thought right away, you saw us come out and play really hard and with great energy," Huse said. "For being such a new team, they also have great chemistry out there, and that really played a part in the start we got off to."

Ryan Reeves opened the second half with a thunderous dunk, and back-to-back shots from Porter and Dunsmore gave the Lights a 60-37 lead.

Slowly though, the Cougars chipped away at that lead, and with 5:57 left, Northern found itself ahead just 79-70. But, Adam Huse buried his sixth three on Northern's next possession, Dunsmore hit one more and Reeves slammed home a baseline dunk, all of which helped the Lights pull away for good.

"Mount Royal is a good basketball team," coach Huse said, "so I was really pleased with how our guys handled their last run. We hit some big shots in that stretch and got some important rebounds. That shows our guys have a lot of character and fight in them."

Adam Huse, the former Bozeman standout and coach Huse' nephew, and Porter combined for 13 of the Lights' 17 treys. Huse finished with a career-high 28 points, while Porter, a transfer from Walla Walla Community College, scored 19. Duns-more added 14 points and five rebounds, while Caulin Bakarlaski scored 13 and Reeves, the reigning Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 12 points, six boards and two blocks. Northern shot 47 percent from the field, out-rebounded the Cougars, who got 17 points from Josh Ross, 42-28 and shot a scorching 57 percent from the beyond the arc.

"It's a really good start," Huse said of his 1-0 Lights. "I'm pretty pleased. We can take a lot away from this game because Mount Royal really presented us with a lot of challenges. This was a very good first game for us."

The Lights will return to action Nov. 4 with an exhibition game at Montana State. The Lights are home Nov. 11 to take on SAGU American Indian College.

Lights 95, Mount Royal 80

MSU-N – Justin Dunsmore 6-11 0-0 14, Ryan Reeves 6-8 0-0 12, Gabe Porter 6-13 1-3 19, Devin Bray 1-4 0-0 3, Charles Porter 0-1 2-5 2, Adam Huse 9-14 3-3 28, Caulin Bakalarski 6-10 0-0 13, Anthony Harper 1-2 1-2 3, Paco Jones 0-1 1-4 1, James Fry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 35-64 8-17 95.

Halftime: Northern 52-34; 3-pointers: 17-37 (Dunsmore 2, Porter 6, Bray 1, Huse 7, Bakalarski 1); Rebounds: 42 (Reeves 6); Fouls: 19; Fouled out: None.

 

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