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Lights hope to keep it rolling on the road

A lot at stake as Northern men face Montana Tech in Butte

 

February 12, 2020

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Mascio McCadney, right, tries to shoot over Montana Tech's Taylor England during a key Frontier Conference game earlier this month in the Armory Gymnasium. Northern plays Tech for a third time Thursday night, with playoff implications at stake. The Lights also visit Lewis-Clark State Saturday night.

Here come the Lights. The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team has won three straight Frontier Conference games, and while they are in the midst of a four-game road swing, the Lights have a chance to do even more damage this weekend.

In particular, Northern (5-7, 15-9) could pull even with fourth-place Montana Tech (6-6, 14-9) with a win tonight in Butte. The Lights and Orediggers meet for the second time in three weeks Thursday night, then Northern travels to Lewis-Clark State Saturday.

It's a big road trip for the Lights, who are definitely back in the hunt for a home playoff game, and they are essentially battling the Orediggers for that No. 4 spot. Northern edged Tech two weeks ago in Havre, and a win Thursday would give the Lights the tiebreaker over the Diggers as well.

"Every game counts and matters in league play," Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. "As you know we are always aware of the significance of each and every night and try to never look at the what-if's and we-need-to's. We really try to keep things simple, prep for, and compete in every game like it is the national championship ... in terms of importance level. With all the games left for everyone to play, so many things can still happen that determine rankings, standings, and tournament positioning. We just know we have to take care of our backyard, prep hard, travel well, and play hard like always. Then we just go from there."

Traveling well will require a big effort from the Lights in Butte. Tech has standouts Sindou Diallo and Taylor England, who are one of the best one-two punches in the conference. The Lights will counter with the No. 1 scoring defense in the Frontier Conference, as well as the trio of Kavon Bey, Mascio McCadney and Adam Huse leading a resurgent MSU-N offense.

Of course, Thursday's game with Tech is only the start of a tough trip. The Lights visit No. 5 LC State (11-1, 23-1) Saturday night, in what will be the last-ever regular season meeting between the squads. The Warriors have won 14 straight games, including twice against the Lights, so that makes the trip a daunting one.

"At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this weekend presents new tough obstacles just as challenging as every team in our league," Huse said. "Every night truly is a battle in this conference. We need to have great game plans to combat the inside/out and transition games these two opponents present. They can get out and run, they can pound it in, they can knock down shots, and they can defend well. We feel we have taken great strides as the season has moved along, and the guys are gaining more and more true confidence in one another. Despite the tough stretches we have gone through this year, the guys have stayed locked in and working hard to improve each week as we hit the home-stretch. This team really does approach each and every day like a championship group."

The Lights take on Montana Tech at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in Butte. Northern's game at LC State tips off at 5 p.m. Saturday in Lewiston, Idaho. The Lights are home to host Rocky Mountain College and Montana Western next weekend in the Armory Gymnasium.

 

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