Lights fall behind early in loss to Montana Tech
Last updated 1/14/2022 at 8:48am
The Montana State University-Northern Lights have been playing well to begin competition in the Frontier Conference but they could not keep up their level of play on Thursday night at Armory Gymnasium when they faced Montana Tech. While the Lights had moments of strong play, they fell behind early and lost, 77-65, to the Orediggers.
"I didn't think we were very sharp," MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse said. "We're a better team than we played tonight. We hate not playing well at home."
The Lights started the game on the right note with a 3-pointer from Mascio McCadney but the Orediggers scored six straight points to take control. Despite the Lights' best efforts, the Orediggers built a 12-7 lead five minutes into the game. Jesse Keltner responded for the Lights with two straight buckets to cut the deficit to one point but the Lights could not hold onto momentum.
Over the next few minutes, the Orediggers went on a 8-0 run to stretch their lead to 20-11 near the halfway point of the first half. Sindou Diallo led Tech during this stretch with four points. Even after the Lights responded, the Orediggers continued to slowly pull away as they led, 38-24, with about a minute left in the half. But in the final moments of the half, the Lights got a bucket from Keltner and a 3-pointer from David Harris to cut their deficit to 38-29 at halftime.
The Lights carried that momentum into the start of the second half. Immanuel Anderson got the half started with a 3-pointer to further close the gap. After a personal 4-0 run from Caleb Bellach, the Lights went 4-for-5 from the free-throw line thanks to Harris and CJ Nelson. After another Tech score, McCadney and Nelson made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 44-42 with just under 17 minutes left.
But the Lights could not keep it up as the Orediggers began to pull away again. The Lights were able to respond to cut the deficit to 54-46 near the halfway point of the half. Again, the Lights could not keep up the pace and Tech began to pull away.
With about six minutes left, the Orediggers had a 62-52 lead. With little time remaining, the Lights put together one more run to keep their hopes alive. Keltner and Harris continued to make plays with a pair of scores and McCadney made a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 62-59 with just under five minutes left. But Tech responded with a 10-3 run to widen the gap. Despite the Lights' best efforts, they lost 75-66.
The Lights finished the game shooting 40.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep. Keltner led the Lights with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and he led the team with nine rebounds. Both Harris and McCadney scored 17 points as they both went 6-for-15 from the field.
Bellach and Diallo each scored 16 points to lead the Orediggers. As a team, Tech shot 59.6 percent from the field. Huse believes his team played good defense, but the Orediggers just played better offense.
"I thought we did some good things to throw them off. They just made a lot of tough shots," Huse said.
The loss dropped the Lights to 13-5 on the season and 3-2 in the Frontier Conference. While there will be plenty that the Lights can learn from this game, it was a performance that Huse would prefer to move on from.
"It just felt like too much of a struggle tonight," Huse said. "Just didn't feel like our best performance. Not an awful performance but not as good as we can play either. We'll have to watch the film and learn something because there's always something to learn."
The Lights will next play against Carroll College at Armory Gymnasium on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Montana Tech 75, MSU-N 66
Tech 38 37 - 75
MSU-N 29 37 - 66
Tech - Sindoua Diallo 6-11 4-6 16, Caleb Bellach 7-11 2-2 16, Taylor England 5-7 3-4 13, Drew Huse 3-7 1-1 7, Derrius Collins 3-4 0-0 6, Keeley Blake 4-6 0-0 10, Michael Ure 1-1 0-0 3, Cody Baumstark 1-3 0-0 2, Bridger Larson 1-1 0-0 2, Camdyn Larance 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 31-52 10-13.
MSU-N - Jesse Keltner 8-13 2-4 18, David Harris 6-15 2-3 17, Mascio McCadney 6-15 2-2 17, CJ Nelson 3-8 2-2 9, Immanuel Anderson 1-4 0-0 3, TJ Reynolds 1-1 0-0 2, Anthony Braggs Jr. 0-2 0-0 0, Tanner McCliment-Cal 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 25-62 8-11.
Halftime: Tech 38-29. 3-pointers: 3-9 (Keeley Blake 2, Michael Ure 1), MSU-N 8-24 (Mascio McCadney 3, David Harris 3, CJ Nelson 1). Rebounds: Tech 32, (Derrius Collins 6), MSU-N 25, (Jesse Keltner 9). Fouls: Tech 9, MSU-N 9. Fouled Out: None.