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Streaking Lights beat Tech

Northern men pull away from the Orediggers for a third straight Frontier victory

 

January 14, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Kavon Bey floats a shot during Saturday night's men's game at the Armory Gymnasium. The Lights captured their third straight win by beating Montana Tech 72-60.

The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team returned tot he Armory Gymnasium playing perhaps its best basketball of the season, after wins over nationally ranked Lewis-Clark State and the University of Providence. But in order to keep the momentum going, the Lights had to beat another team playing really good basketball.

And that's exactly what Northern did Saturday night, as the Lights toppled the resurgent Montana Tech Orediggers, 72-60. The victory was Northern's third straight, pushing its record to 3-3 in the Frontier Conference had of an upcoming five-game road trip.

"I do feel like we're starting to click more and more," Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. "I felt like you (saw) more of that tonight. Our guys were focused and determined. We played really well as a team. It does feel like we're improving more and more, and that has been the goal all along."

At the onset, a much-improved Tech squad didn't make that progress easy on the Lights, as the Orediggers jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead. But back-to-back 3-pointers from Mascio McCadney, another from senior Caulin Bakalarski, and two quick buckets inside from Kavon Bey, sparked the Lights to a an 11-0 run, while Tech had no answers, and the Lights took a 38-28 lead into halftime.

Tech did have answers early in the second stanza, though, and the Diggers cut Northern's lead to 46-40 with 14 minutes still to play. But Northern responded as Bray and Bakalarski drilled triples, and the lights wound up going on a 16-2 run which essentially put the game out of reach.

"I think what I'm most pleased with tonight is our defense," Huse said. "We can score, we can shoot the ball, and we've shown that by building some nice leads in past games. But tonight, we didn't have any letdowns in our defense. Our guys stayed with it, played hard for 40 minutes, and our defense is what allowed us to really grab control of the game."

The Lights were stout, holding Tech to just 40 percent shooting and a 2-for-10 performance from beyond the arc. Northern was just as good offensively, with Bakalarski pouring in 24 points, Bey chipping in with 15 and McCadney adding 14. Northern shot 49 percent from the floor, 50 percent from deep and was also perfect from the charity stripe, and all that against an Oredigger team that came into Saturday's game hot.

"Every win in this league is valuable," Huse said. "But when you consider how well Tech is playing, coming off a win against Great Falls (Providence) and we know how good they are, this was a really good win for our guys. I'm proud of them for their focus and their ability to play well against another really good Frontier Conference team."

Now, with their three-game win streak in tow, the Lights (11-7) head to Dillon this Thursday for a rematch with UM-Western, then travel to Lewiston, Idaho, Saturday to take on LC State. Northern isn't back in the Armory until Feb. 1-2 when the Lights host Rocky Mountain College and Carroll College.

Lights are 3-3 in Frontier, 11-7 overall; Next Up: at Western Thursday

Lights 72, Montana Tech 60

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Caulin Bakalarski goes in for a layup during Saturday night's men's game at the Armory Gymnasium.

MT - Taylor England 4-11 4-4 12, Nate Ward 2-7 4-4 9, Troy Owens Jr., 4-13 0-4 9, Derrius Collins 4-7 1-4 8, Dylan Pannabecker 3-8 1-1 7, Carson Dummer 3-3 1-2 7, William Mytty 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 24-58 10-17.

MSU-N - Caulin Bakalarski 8-13 3-3 23, Mascio McCadney 6-12 0-2 14, Justin Dunsmore 3-10 3-3 9, Devin Bray 3-5 0-0 7, Cedric Crutchfield 0-0 0-0 0, Kavin Bey 7-10 0-1 15, Adam Huse 1-2 2-2 4, Joe Fons 0-1 0-0, Kamari Burnside 0-2 0-0 0, James Fry 0-1 0-0. Totals: 28-56 8-11.

Halftime: Northern 72-60. 3-pointers: MT 2-10 (Ward 1, Troy Owens Jr., 1), MSU-N 8-13 (Bakalarski 4, McCadney 2, Bray 1, Bey 1). Rebounds: MT 29 (Ward 6), MSU-N 37 (McCadney 10). Fouls: MT 15, MSU-N 11. Fouled out: None.

 

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