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Lights go 1-2 on tough Oregon trip


November 21, 2017

After a 3-0 start to the season, the Montana State University-Northern men’s basketball team looked to test itself on the road this past weekend, against both Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon.

What the Lights found out is that they were up for the challenge, they just couldn’t finish, as they dropped close games to both schools, falling to Oregon Tech 71-67 Friday night and 89-83 Saturday to Southern Oregon. Northern, which is 3-2, will try to rebound tonight in Portland, against Portland Bible College.

"We played good basketball both games but came up short,” Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. “We, of course, were disappointed with the final scores but had our chances to put away really good teams in their backyards.”

The game against Oregon Tech Friday night, was the opening of the Oregon Tech Classic and while the Owls are an NAIA Division II program, they are nationally ranked. Even so, the Lights actually outplayed the Owls for most of the night, before failing to put the game away late.

After taking a 33-31 lead into halftime, the Lights pushed the lead to four, at 44-40 following a 3-pointer by Caulin Bakalarski. A bucket shortly after by Ryan Reeves put Northern up six. The Lights held that advantage for most of the second half and even went up seven on multiple occasions, and with 6:40 remaining, after two made free throws by Gabe Porter, MSU-N was in front 60-53.

Unfortunately, that’s when the Lights went cold offensively. In less than two minutes, the Owls scored 10 straight points to go up 63-60 after consecutive layups by Jalen Carvalho put Oregon Tech ahead. Northern would regain the lead after buckets by Charles Porter and Reeves.

Yet Oregon Tech responded with another hoop by Carvalho, then two free throws by Mitchell Fink put the Owls in front 67-65, before Adam Huse of Northern tied the game with a jumper. However, Fink connected on a shot with 14 ticks remaining to put Oregon Tech in front 69-67 and Northern was unable to tie the game on its next possession, giving the Owls the come-from-behind win.

Reeves was the top performer for Northern in the loss, scoring 18 points, on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Justin Dunsmore added 13 points, while Bakalarski pitched in with eight. Fink paced Oregon Tech with a game-high 24 points. Tyler Hieb finished with 16 and Andrew Weber had 11.

The next night, against Southern Oregon, the Lights got off to a similar start, and thanks to a layup with 10 seconds left in the first half by Charles Porter, MSU-N grabbed a 49-45 halftime advantage over the Raiders. Then right away in the second half, Reeves threw down a dunk, which put the Lights up 51-45 with 19:19 left in the game.

It was the biggest lead of the night for Northern, but it wouldn’t last long. The Raiders went on a 12-6 spurt and when Ben Desaulnier drained a 3-pointer, the score was tied at 57 all. Huse answered with two jumpers, including a trey with 13:20 that put the Lights up 62-60, but Southern Oregon went on a 10-2 run that was capped by an Aaron Borich layup that made it 70-64 in favor of the Owls with 9:24 left.

Yet, the Lights wouldn’t quit. Reeves tied the game up at 72-72, on a dunk, then a hoop by Charles Porter and a triple by Dunsmore, gave MSU-N a 77-72 lead with 5:03 remaining. However, the Owls responded with seven straight points to reclaim the lead and didn’t look back in what ended up being a six-point win for Southern Oregon.

Despite the loss, Dunsmore was sensational for the Lights, scoring 31 points, making eight 3-pointers and grabbing five rebounds. Reeves also had another solid night, scoring 19 and pulling down nine rebounds. Charles Porter also reached double figures with 13, and Huse wound up with 11. Desaulnier led the Raiders with 21 points, while Jordan Hunt contributed with 18 points and eight rebounds.

“Being up at half and letting them slip away right at the end was tough to swallow,” Huse said. “But our guys showed great resilience and toughness against high level competition. We had some tough breaks not go our way but our guys fought through them and had control till the end. I firmly believe these games will help us learn a lot moving forward and I am proud of the way we competed."

The Lights got back on track Monday night, beating Portland Bible College 104-78. Northern raced out to a 57-32 lead and never looked back, as the Lights buried 19 3-pointers. Gabe Porter nailed seven of them and scored 23 points, while Ryan Reeves had 18 points. Adam Huse and Justin Dunsmore each scored 14, for the Lights, who improved to 3-2.

"It felt good to see everyone playing the way they can tonight. We got a great response to our two heartbreaking losses in the OIT Classic," Shawn Huse said. "I was extremely happy for, and proud of, all our guys. This is a long road trip and they kept their energy and focus through tonight."

The Lights return to the Armory Gymnasium where they'll host the Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday.

Oregon Tech 71, Lights 61

Northern - Ryan Reeves 7-9 4-7 18, Justin Dunsmore 5-9 2-2 13, Devin Bray 2-3 3-3 7, Charles Porter 3-6 0-0 6, Adam Huse 2-4 0-0 4, Caulin Bakalarski 2-8 2-3 6, Cayeveoon Jones 2-3 2-8 6, Anthony Harper 0-3 3-4 3, Gabe Porter 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 23-47 18-29.

Oregon Tech - Mitchell Fink 8-16 8-10 24, Tyler Hieb 6-10 4-5 16, Andrew Weber 4-5 3-4 11, Jalen Carvalho 3-7 0-0 6. Zach Bernards 0-3 0-0 0, Harrison Steiger 2-4 0-2 4, Will Swank 1-1 0-0 3, Seth Erickson 0-5 2-2 2, Jordan Henderson 0-2 2-2 2, Scott Burge 0-1 2-2 2, Dur Solis 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 23-60 22-27.

3-pt FG: MSU-N 3-12 (Justin Dunsmore 1-3, Devin Bray 0-1, Adam Huse 0-1, Caulin Bakalarski 2-4, Anthony Harper 0-1, Gabe Porter 0-2). Oregon Tech 3-20 (Mitchell Fink 0-4, Tyler Hieb 2-6, Jalen Carvalho 0-1, Zach Bernards 0-2, Will Swank 1-1, Seth Erickson 0-5, Scott Burge 0-1). Rebounds: MSU-N 33 (Reeves 6) Oregon Tech 36 (Carvalho 6). Fouls - Oregon Tech 22, MSU-N 23. Fouled out: Weber.

Southern Oregon 89, Lights 83

Northern - Justin Dunsmore 10-18 3-3 31, Ryan Reeves 7-12 5-5 19, Charles Porter 6-11 0-0 13, Adam Huse 5-8 0-0 11, Caulin Bakalarski 1-2 0-0 2, Gabe Porter 1-8 1-3 3, Anthony Harper 1-3 0-0 2, Cayeveoon Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Devin Bray 0-5 0-0 0. Totals: 32-69 9-11.

SOU - Ben Desaulnier 7-16 5-5 21, Jordan Hunt 7-14 2-2 18, Tristen Holmes 6-10 2-3 16, Tate Hoffman 5-8 3-4 14, Kenny Meyer 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Borich 4-5 1-2 10, Conor Carroll 2-7 1-2 6, Josh Washington 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 33-65 14-17.

3-pt FG: MSU-N 10-28 (Justin Dunsmore 8-14, Charles Porter 1-2, Adam Huse 1-3, Caulin Bakalarski 0-1, Gabe Porter 0-5, Anthony Harper 0-1, Devin Bray 0-2. SOU 9-20 (Ben Desaulnier 2-4, Jordan Hunt 2-4, Tristen Holmes 2-4, Tate Hoffman 1-2, Kenny Meyer 0-1, Aaron Borich 1-1, Conor Carroll 1-4. Rebounds: MSU-N 36 (Reeves 9), SOU 35 (Hunt 8). Fouls SOU 11, MSU-N 2. Fouled out -- none.


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