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Northern men scorch the nets, rock the Armory in Frontier quarterfinal win over Providence


February 28, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Kavon Bey, left, goes up high for a shot during Wednesday night's Frontier Conference quarterfinal playoff game between the Lights and the University of Providence Argos in the Armory. The Lights won a high-scoring affair, 101-93, advancing to Saturday's semifinals at Lewis-Clark State.

Exactly one year ago, the Montana State University-Northern Lights saw a promising season come to an end in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs - on their one floor no less.

Fast forward one year, and the Lights weren't about to let history repeat itself.

Wednesday night in the Armory Gymnasium, the Lights made 10 first-half 3-pointers and rode that momentum to a 101-93 Frontier quarterfinal win over the No. 23 University of Providence Argos, which vaulted them into Saturday night's semifinal.

"We have quite a few guys still on this team from last year," Northern junior Adam Huse, who poured in 26 points, said. "And that loss last year, that wasn't a good feeling at all. So to be able to get this one tonight, it's huge. We had a great week of practice, our whole team was really focused. And this one feels so good."

Huse and the Lights were certainly good at the onset. They had beaten Providence twice during the regular season, but the Argos came into Wednesday night's game as one of the highest-scoring teams in the NAIA. So the Lights knew they had to be good, and they were from the start.

Justin Dunsmore started the 3-point parade, while he and Huse capped a 12-2 Northern run with back-to-back bombs. And when Huse hit his fourth three of the first half, the Lights were out in front 27-14.

And they kept going. Caulin Bakalarski and Kavon Bey went back-to-back from downtown to push the Northern lead to 33-16, and while the Argos rallied some, the Lights cruised into halftime shooting 52 percent, and leading 50-37.

"When you play a team that plays so much zone, you know the looks are going to be there," Huse, who made five first-half trey's said. "And we just got hot. We passed the ball really well, we shared the ball, and everybody was making shots.

"Our guys were certainly locked in," MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse added. "Adam was definitely on a mission, and the rest of our guys fed off of him. And they all stepped up; they all contributed. They were focused and determined tonight, and I'm extremely proud of them all."

The Lights' big lead was needed, too, because, as expected, the Argos, in their first year under head coach Steve Keller, made runs.

While Mascio McCadney opened the second half with three straight buckets, and Bakalarski knocked in a trey, the Argos didn't go away. Austin Starr canned two treys on consecutive trips down the floor, and Brandon Cotton made driving layups, and by the 4:39 mark, the Lights' lead was down to 86-80.

"Providence was awesome tonight," coach Huse said. "They fought and battled, they hit a ton of huge shots in the second half. They are a very dangerous basketball team, and they never quit fighting."

The Lights were up to a fight, though.

Leading still by just six, McCadney hit his third three of the night, and while a Starr trey cut the Northern lead to 96-93 with under 30 seconds left, McCadney, Adam Huse and Dunsmore all made clutch free throws to salt the game awa, and keep Northern's season going.

"Our guys answered the bell all night long," coach Huse said. "Huge shots, free throws, big rebounds, big stops defensively, our guys just kept stepping up, they kept responding. I just can't say enough about this team. They were awesome tonight."

Awesome indeed. Northern wound up shooting a sizzling 53 percent from the field, and going 14-of-33 from beyond the arc. McCadney had a monster second half to match Adam Huse with 26 points, while the backcourt tandem combined for eight threes. Bey hit two triples of his own and finished with 16 points off the bench, while Dunsmore added two bombs and scored 15, and Bakalarski chipped in with eight.

Providence (18-12), which will now hope for an at-large berth to the national tournament, got a game-high 27 points from Cotton, and wound up shooting a stellar 54 percent from the field, and that made for an extremely entertaining and exciting night in the Armory, which, was loud and rocking as the Lights advanced and put last season's playoff loss behind them.

"What a fun, fun game to be a part of," coach Huse said. "What an exciting playoff game, with a great atmosphere. Our guys were awesome tonight, Providence was awesome tonight, our crowd was awesome tonight, it was just an incredible, Frontier Conference playoff game, and it's a perfect example of how tough and good this league is.

"And at the end of it all, I'm just so proud of our guys," he added. "I just can't say enough about them. And I'm extremely proud."

The Lights (18-13) will now try to keep their season going, as they head to Lewis-Clark State for a semifinal bout with the second-seeded Warriors. No. 1 seed Carroll will host Montana Tech, which upset Rocky Wednesday night, in the other semifinal. The winners of the semifinals will meet next Tuesday in the Frontier championship game, at the site of the highest remaining seed.

"We're excited," Adam Huse said. "We're still playing. We're excited to get this win, and now we'll try and go do it again."

Lights are 18-13 overall; Up Next: At #13 LC State Saturday in Frontier semifinals

Lights 101, Providence 93

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Mascio McCadney lays up a shot during Wednesday night's game against Providence inside the Armory Gymnasium. McCadney and teammate Adam Huse each scored 26 points in the Lights' win.

UP - Jack Taylor 2-4 1-2 5, Brandon Cotton 11-18 4-6 27, D'shea Williams 2-7 8-8 13, Jacob Wetzel 1-1 2-2 4, Jalen Shepard 6-10 5-5 18, Jean-Frederic Daho 1-1 0-0 2, Austin Starr 4-10 4-5 16, Jaxen Hashley 3-5 2-2 8. Totals 30-56 26-30 93.

MSU - Mascio McCadney 9-12 5-5 26, Adam Huse 8-12 5-6 26, Caulin Bakalarski 3-9 0-1 8, Joe Fons 1-1 0-0 2, Devin Bray 0-6 4-6 4, James Fry 0-0 0-0 0, Justin Dunsmore 6-14 1-2 15, Kavon Bey 7-10 0-2 16, Cedric Crutchfield 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 35-66 17-24 101.

3-pt FG:Providence (Mont.) 7-20 (Taylor 0-1, Cotton 1-4, Williams 1-4, Shepard 1-2, Starr 4-8, Hashley 0-1), Montana State-Northern 14-33 (McCadney 3-5, Huse 5-8, Bakalarski 2-6, Bray 0-4, Dunsmore 2-7, Bey 2-3). Rebounds: Providence (Mont.) 28 (Williams 10), Montana State-Northern 33 (Dunsmore 11). Fouls Providence (Mont.) 17, Montana State-Northern 18. Fouled out: none.


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