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Skylights face NAIA west powers in Great Falls

Northern men travel to Salish Kootenai College Saturday night

 

November 16, 2018

Colin Thompson

Allix Goldhahn, right, and the Montana State University-Northern Skylights are in Great Falls this weekend for a pair of NAIA non-conference games against nationally-ranked opponents.

The season may still be in the early stages for the Montana State University-Northern Skylights but with two important non-conference matchups this weekend, MSU-N needs to play like it's in mid-season form.

That’s because while the Skylights will be traveling just down the road to Great Falls for the Great Falls Classic, MSU-N will be taking on two nationally ranked teams on back-to-back nights.

The first matchup comes tonight, as the Skylights will do battle with Arizona Christian, the No. 22 team in the NAIA preseason poll. Then, on Saturday, Northern will take on another NAIA heavyweight in eighth-ranked Westmont, a school from California and the powerful GSAC. The Skylights will play at 5:30 p.m. both tonight and Saturday night at the University of Providence's McLaughlin Center, which is hosting the tournament.

MSU-N will come in facing a tough task against both Arizona Christian and Westmont, yet the Skylights are also off to a hot start. Northern has won its first three games of the season, not including an exhibition loss to Minot State, and scored victories away from home over Mount Royal, Northwest University and Northwest Christian.

“For us right now, we are a very young team and a very new team,” Skylights head coach Chris Mouat said. “To go out and play some tough competition is great. Traditionally, if you can go out and beat a team that is nationally ranked it can give you a chance to get up there. We aren’t there yet, but playing these will give us a chance and I think for this team, this year, it’s a great opportunity.”

The Skylights are dealing with some injuries, but, they have some emerging players such as Allix Goldhahn, who is averaging 12 points a game. Goldhahn is joined in double figures by Gokce Aslan and Sydney Hovde. Two other key contributors for the Skylights have been Sam Caruth and Peyton Kehr, who are among the team’s best perimeter shooters.

Caruth leads the Skylights with six makes from beyond the arc, while Kehr and Goldhahn each have four. As a team though, Northern shoots 38 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 10th in the NAIA.

“We are dealing with some injuries right now,” Mouat said. “But we are just going to prepare as hard as we possibly can and try to work our way through it and give it our all.”

While the Skylights will be in action just down the road in Great Falls this weekend, the Lights, led by head coach Shawn Huse, will also be taking a short road trip to Pablo, Montana to take on Salish-Kootenai College. The two teams met inside the Armory Gymnasium in Havre last month, with the Lights winning the game handily by the score of 111-58. Northern had six players reach double figures in the first matchup and after losing their previous game to the College of Idaho, MSU-N will be motivated to get back into the win column.

“We have a very challenging four-game stretch ahead, including of course these two upcoming road games at Salish (Saturday) and Dickinson State (Tuesday),” Huse said. “Salish has played great games versus several of our league opponents recently. Playing on their home court, it’s a much different challenge than what it was at home against them. They certainly possess the capability of shooting from anywhere and scoring at the rim.”

Salish Kootenai College has a number of former Montana high school standouts on the roster, including Will Meseth, who was a part of multiple state championship teams at Arlee. He scored 10 points in the first matchup, while Tisen Fryberg and Louis Mohr each had 11.

The Lights will answer with Mascio McCadney, Adam Huse, Justin Dunsmore, Cedric Crutchfield, Colin Bakalarski, Kavo Bey and Devin Bray, who all score in double figures.

MSU-N and Salish Kootenai will battle Saturday night and then the Lights will travel to Dickinson, North Dakota next Tuesday to take on Dickinson State.

 

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