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Lights sail past rival Argos

 

January 3, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Devin Bray, right, drives the ball during Tuesday night's Frontier Conference game against the University of Providence in the Armory Gymnasium. The Lights won 74-63.

Montana State University-Northern head coach Shawn Huse knew what kind of battle his Lights were in for when they resumed Frontier Conference play against arch rival, the University of Providence.

But, Huse also knew just how his team would respond to such an intense and physical game, which was what the Lights got from the Argos Tuesday night inside the Armory Gymnasium. And in the end, the coach was right on both accounts, as the game was indeed intense, and his Lights rose to the occasion in a 74-63 victory.

"I'm really proud of the guys," Huse said after the Lights improved to 2-1 in league play. "Providence does such a good job of making you play an ugly basketball game. Defensively, they're so athletic, and so aggressive, so you just have to play through it, and find ways to counter it. And I thought our guys did that tonight. They were tough and poised and they just fought through it and found a way."

The Lights did have to hang tough because UP's DuShaun Rice hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first five minutes, which led to an early 15-5 Argo lead. A 3-pointer from Paco Jones would stop the bleeding for Northern, and from there, the Lights stayed close with Ryan Reeves scoring on the inside, and Charles Porter finishing the first half with six straight points, as Northern trailed just 32-28.

"I think that's ne of the things I'm most proud of the guys for tonight," Huse said. "We didn't get off to a great start, we turned it over, and missed some shots. And they (Argos) started the exact opposite. But the way our guys hung in there defensively, I thought we were just fine only down four at the half. We got some really important stops when we went through that long lull offensively, and that was big."

The Lights, who are third in the NAIA in scoring, did have their struggles offensively, but, not in a six-minute stretch of the second half.

Porter hit a three to start what would become a 19-3 run for the Lights. Adam Huse bombed in a triple that gave Northern the lead at 39-39, and Caulin Bakalraski added two more trey's during the run. By the time it was over, Northern led 62-44, and while the Argos would come back to pull within six with under two minutes to play, Devin Bray hit a three and six free throws to ice the game away for good.

"We finally were able to get into our offense for a while there," Huse said. "It wasn't easy, and credit Providence for that. They are just so tough defensively. But we did have some guys step up and make some big shots, and then, once we got a comfortable cushion, our defense held."

Northern's defense was especially good in the second half, as the Lights held the Argos to just 33 percent shooting and 1-for-9 from beyond the arc. Rice did finish with a game-high 28 points, but, the Lights limited him in the second half as well.

On the other end, the Argos held Northern to 24 points below their season average, and just eight three's. But, the shots went in when the Lights needed them the most. Bray and Charles Porter finished with 15 points each, while Jones, Gabe Porter and Reeves combined for 24 more. The Lights also shot 91 percent from the foul line, and that was key, considering the battle was marred by a total of 38 fouls.

"Sometimes you have to win ugly," Huse said. "It was a tough, hard-fought game. Both teams played hard for 40 minutes. Our effort was great tonight, and I was really proud of the way our guys stayed composed. It's easy to lose your head in a game like that, but our guys didn't panic. They stayed with it, and they found ways to get it done."

The Lights (12-3), will have a quick turnaround though, as they head to Butte on Thursday night for a showdown with much-improved Montana Tech. Northern doesn't play at home again until Jan. 20 when they host the Orediggers.

Lights are 2-1 in Frontier, 12-3 overall; Next Up: at Montana Tech Thursday

Lights 74, Providence 63

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Ryan Reeves shoots over a Providence defender during Tuesday night's game in Havre.

UP - Sergio BERKLEY 2-11 2-2 6, Treyvon BASHIR 2-4 1-1 6, Jacob WETZEL 0-0 0-0 0, Quesly-Marie NORESIAS 0-1 0-0 0, Matthew BROOKS-MCGREGOR 2-4 0-0 4, Jared SCHULTZ 2-8 1-2 5, DuShaun RICE 10-19 4-5 28, Steven DAHO-CLARK 0-4 4-4 4, D'shea WILLIAMS 0-1 0-0 0, Jack TAYLOR 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 22-58 14-16 63.

MSU-N - Adam Huse 2-6 1-2 6, Caulin Bakalarski 4-5 2-2 12, Anthony Harper 0-0 0-0 0, Devin Bray 2-2 10-10 15, Justin Dunsmore 1-6 0-0 2, Charles Porter 5-11 3-4 15, Cayeveoon Jones 2-4 3-3 8, Ryan Reeves 4-12 0-0 8, Gabe Porter 2-5 3-3 8. Totals 22-51 22-24 74.

Halftime: Providence 32-28. 3-pt FG:University of Providence 5-17 (BERKLEY 0-2, BASHIR 1-2, BROOKS-MCGREGOR 0-1, SCHULTZ 0-5, RICE 4-7), MSU-Northern 8-14 (Huse 1-1, Bakalarski 2-2, Bray 1-1, Dunsmore 0-4, Porter 2-2, Jones 1-2, Porter 1-2). Rebounds: University of Providence 25 (BASHIR 5, DAHO-CLARK 5), MSU-Northern 38 (Reeves 8). Fouls University of Providence 22, MSU-Northern 16. Fouled out: none.

 

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