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Lights overcome slow start for dominant win over the Vikings

The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team is off to an undefeated start to the season and that continued Thursday night at Armory Gymnasium with a 105-53 win over the University of Alberta-Augustana. While the Lights pulled away for the big win, MSU-N head coach Shawn Huse commended the Vikings for pushing the Lights early.

"Augustana played really well there particularly early on and really pushed us and forced us to have to respond and do some things to establish ourselves in the basketball game," Huse said. "I was really proud of how we bounced back after some disappointing early possessions and I thought our defense really had a lot of energy and really created a lot of easier opportunities that we needed there early on to get things going."

After a bucket from Zackry Martinez to start the game, a free throw and layup from Nic Harder gave the Vikings an early lead. Brett Marlow and Ryan Degner then made some layups to stretch the Vikings' lead. Even as the Lights responded, the Vikings had an 11-10 lead early in the game.

The Vikings then went on a 5-0 run to stretch their lead to 16-10. Degner got the run started with a layup before Marc Parma made a 3-pointer to add onto the lead. Dae'Kwon Watson responded with a layup and two free throws to cut the Lights deficit to 16-14.

The Lights were able to tie the game, 21-21, before grabbing a hold of momentum for good. Watson gave the Lights the lead with back-to-back buckets. After a three by the Vikings, C.J. Nelson made back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 29-24.

After another Vikings bucket, the Lights took over with a 16-1 run over the next few minutes. Immanuel Anderson got the run started with back-to-back baskets before Martinez made a layup to push the lead to ten points. Anderson then scored again to make it 37-25.

The Vikings made a free throw to try to break up the run, but it was not enough. Anderson and Nelson made some layups to add onto the lead. T.J. Reynolds then went on a personal 4-0 run to give the Lights a 45-26 lead late in the first half. The Vikings tried to wrangle away momentum but the Lights went into halftime with a 48-28 lead.

"It seemed like there were a lot of guys that made some great plays there in the first half and got us going," Huse said about the end of the first half.

Harder scored a bucket for the Vikings to start the second half, but that was not enough to get things going. The Lights went on a 14-0 run over the next few minutes to stretch their lead to 62-30. The Vikings were never able to respond as the Lights pulled away for the blowout victory.

The Lights finished the game shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from the 3-point line. Watson finished the game with 17 points as he went 6-for-8 from the field and 3-for-5 from deep. Martinez reached double digits as he scored 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting.

The Lights held the Vikings to 33.9 percent shooting from the field and 26.1 percent shooting from deep. The Lights also forced the Vikings into 33 turnovers in the game. Harder and Parma each scored 14 points to lead the Vikings.

The Lights are now 4-0 to start the season and have looked good doing it. But there is plenty of time before the Frontier Conference season begins, so Huse and the Lights will look to use that time fine tuning things before their games become more important.

"I think we have yet to play to our full potential which I think may be a good sign," Huse said. "We're playing pretty well but we still have a long way to go and we're nowhere near our ceiling yet. So we'll take this one and learn from it."

The MSU-N men's basketball team will look for continued improvement Nov. 19 when the Lights head to Tacoma, Washington, to face Puget Sound University.

MSU-Northern 105, Alberta-Augustana 53

UAA - 28 25 - 53

MSU-N - 48 57 - 105

UAA - Nic Harder 6-13 1-1 14, Marc Parma 5-11 0-0 14, Tyler Weenik 3-7 1-2 8, Ryan Degner 3-8 1-2 7, Brett Marlow 2-5 0-0 4, Cooper Nelson 0-4 2-4 2, Tarik Reed 1-3 0-1 2, Willen Smith 1-8 0-0 2, Cale Scotton 0-1 0-0 0, Jakob Fulton 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-62 5-10.

MSU-N - Dae'Kwon Watson 6-8 2-2 17, Zackry Martinez 5-9 3-3 14, TJ Reynolds 3-5 3-4 11, CJ Nelson 4-8 0-1 9, Immanuel Anderson 4-8 0-0 8, Jesse Keltner 4-4 0-0 8, Terry Holmes Jr. 4-7 0-0 8, Tanner McCliment-Call 3-10 0-1 8, Micaiah Hauser 2-3 0-0 6, Jacob Randall 3-5 0-0 6, Rogan Barnwell 2-3 0-0 5, Anthony Braggs Jr. 1-4 1-2 3, Myles Dalton 1-4 0-0 2, RJ Ramone 0-1 0-0 0, Bryce Graham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 42-79 9-13.

Halftime: MSU-N 48-28. 3-pointers: UAA 6-23 (Marc Parma 4, Nic Harder 1, Tyler Weenik 1), MSU-N 12-29 (Dae'Kwon Watson 3, Tanner McCliment-Call 2, Michaia Hauser 2). Rebounds: UAA 40 (Nic Harder 12), MSU-N 38 (Immanuel Anderson 6). Fouls: UAA 13, MSU-N 13. Fouled Out: None.


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