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Lights aim for a happy Thanksgiving

Northern men begin long home stretch with AmericInn Thanksgiving Classic

 

November 24, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Anthony Harper, right, and the Montana State University-Northern Lights play a pair of home games during this weekend's AmericInn Thanksgiving Classic. The Lights play Salish Kootenai College tonight, followed by Valley City State Saturday night.

The Montana State University-Northern Lights just wrapped up their first true road trip of the young season. Now, the Lights get to play their next nine games in the Armory Gymnasium, including their Frontier Conference openers in just one week.

But before the Lights (4-2) get to those Frontier battles, they'll host the second-annual

AmericInn Thanksgiving Classic.

The tournament starts today and features Northern, University of Providence, Valley City State and Salish Kootenai College. The Lights will play Salish tonight, while Providence takes on Valley City, and they will flip the schedule Saturday.

"These are great games to keep us in the right mindset for the following weekend," MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. "With conference-like opposition in this Classic, it should provide us more experience to get us ready for our two Frontier openers the following Friday and Saturday."

The Lights aren't looking ahead to battles with Rocky Mountain and Carroll College just yet, though. Instead, they'll be looking to take care of business at home, following a three-game run in Oregon that saw Northern lose back-to-back games to Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon, a pair of tough Cascade Conference foes.

The Lights got back on the winning track Monday night, blowing out Portland Bible College, and led by Ryan Reeves' 16 points and seven rebounds per game, as well as 16 from Adam Huse, 14 by Justin Dunsmore, 13 from Gabe Porter and 10 from Caulin Bakalarski, the Lights are looking to continue their offensive explosiveness this weekend.

Of course, MSU-N, which is shooting an outstanding 40 percent from the 3-point-line, also hangs its hat on defense, and the Lights come into the weekend allowing 75 points per game.

And both opponents should test the Lights' defense. Northern already has a win over Salish Kootenai College this season, but Huse won't take them lightly. Meanwhile, Valley City State here a 3-5 record, but they have played a host of NCAA Division II squads, so the Vikings will be a tough opponent Saturday night.

"Salish has very good guards and versatile players that work hard and can score in a variety of ways," Huse said. "Valley brings a solid balanced attack that includes good size, and runs good stuff similar to the styles we see in league play. We need to shake off this long road trip, get our legs back quick and be ready to go if we are going to have a successful Thanksgiving weekend."

Northern's Thanksgiving Classic starts tonight when the Lights take on Salish at 6 in the Armory. Providence and Valley City play at 4. Providence then takes on Salish at 4 p.m. Saturday with the Lights taking on Valley City at 6 p.m.

 

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