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Lights snap Saints, streak

Northern men upend No. 9 Carroll with a suffocating defense

 

January 23, 2020

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Cedric Crutchfield slams one home during the first half of Wednesday night's Frontier Conference game between the Lights and No. 9 Carroll College Fighting Saints. In a huge victory, the Lights beat the Saints, and will host No. 8 Providence tonight.

If any basketball team in the NAIA felt like they needed a win, it was the Montana State University-Northern Lights.

And that's exactly what Northern finally got Wednesday night in the Armory Gymnasium.

Only this win wasn't any ordinary victory. No, Northern put on a devastating defensive performance in a 58-48 win over No. 9 Carroll College, and in the process, snapped a four-game Frontier Conference losing streak, a streak that dated all the way back to early December.

"No doubt, after the stretch we've been through, I'm just so proud of our guys," Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. "I'm so happy and excited for our guys. They showed the team they know they are tonight."

No question the Lights should be happy, not just because they stopped a painful losing streak, but because they knocked off one of the top teams in the NAIA, and just two weeks after Carroll had come to Havre and beat the Lights by double-digits.

It was obvious on Wednesday that, things were going to be different.

Despite Carroll jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead, the Lights would be locked in defensively. And while former Havre Blue Pony star Dane Warp did hit two big 3-pointers in the first half, Northern had answers, including a triple from David Harris, as well as a massive dunk from Cedric Crutchfield, which sent the Lights into halftime tied with the Fighting Saints at 27-27, and feeling good about themselves.

"Let's be clear," Huse said. "That's a really good basketball team in purple over there. They are a such a handful. And I thought our guys played really well, we defended really well, our effort was very good, and we did enough offensively, especially down the stretch. Carroll has been playing everybody at such a high level, so for us to be able to hold them the way we did tonight, and play as well as we did that speaks volumes about our guys."

As well as the Lights closed the first half, things got even better for Northern in the second. Warp was hot early on, but so was Mascio McCadney, who hit two triples of his own in the first five minutes of the second half. However, Carroll did have another push, and the Saints went on a 9-2, to pull back to within one point.

Northern didn't wobble this time, though.

Instead, the Lights responded. With the game tied at 43-43 with five minutes left, Devin Bray and Adam Huse both hit runners in the lane to give the Lights the lead back. Minutes later, Huse buried a clutch triple, Kavon Bey hit a floater, and a steal by Huse capped a 9-2 run that gave the Lights a seven-point lead with just over a minute left, sending the Armory faithful into a frenzy.

And from there, Northern cruised home for its first win of 2020.

The Lights were stellar defensively against one of the most potent offenses in the Frontier. The Lights held Carroll to just 34 percent shooting, and Northern was also big on the boards, especially in the second half, which helped keep the late run going with defensive stops.

"They (Saints) force you to be solid defensively," Huse said. "They are so good offensively. But our guys were locked in defensively, they were ready. The effort is always there from our guys, but I thought they did such a good job on defense and on the boards tonight,"

On the offensive end, Northern shot 47 percent, got 19 points from McCadney and 10 more from Bey. And while the game was low-scoring - Warp led Carroll with 19 points and four threes - Northern had the big shots when the Lights needed them most, and now, MSU-N can move forward, starting with tonight's game against No. 8 Providence, which tips off at 8.

"It was a battle tonight," Huse said. "So for our guys to get over the hump, given what they've been through, it says a lot about their character. I'd be lying if I said our confidence hasn't been rattled some. So teams with lesser character, they might have let that slip away tonight. They might have thought, here we go again. But not our guys, not tonight. They said, "We can win this; They battled, they said, we know we're a good team, and they went out and fought and got the job done. I'm just so proud of them."

Lights are 2-5 in Frontier, 12-7 overall; Next Up: vs Argos tonight

Lights 58, Carroll 48

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Adam Huse shoots during Wednesday night's game in the Armory Gymnasium.

CC - Dane Warp 6-13 3-4 19, Shamrock Campbell 3-10 0-0 8, Jovan Sljivancanin 4-15 0-0 11, Brendan Temple 0-1 0-0 0, Jonny Hillman 0-0 0-0 0, Gaven Ramirez 0-1 0-0 0, Sayer Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Ifeanyi Okeke 2-5 0-0 4, Dennis Flowers III 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 18-52 3-4 48.

MSU-N - Gio Jackson 1-3 2-2 4, David Harris 3-5 0-0 8, Mascio McCadney 6-10 4-5 19, Adam Huse 3-9 2-2 9, Jesse Keltner 1-3 2-2 4, Kavon Bey 5-11 0-0 10, Devin Bray 1-3 0-0 2, TJ Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0, Cedric Crutchfield 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-46 10-11 58.

Halftime: 27-27. 3-pt FG:Carroll (Mont.) 9-21 (Warp 4-7, Campbell 2-4, Sljivancanin 3-8, Okeke 0-1, Flowers III 0-1), Montana State University- 6-14 (Harris 2-3, McCadney 3-5, Huse 1-4, Bray 0-2). Rebounds: Carroll (Mont.) 28 (Okeke 10), Montana State University- 25 (Bey 5, Crutchfield 5). Fouls Carroll (Mont.) 14, Montana State University- 5. Fouled out: none.

 

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