With a huge, nationally-ranked showdown with Lewis-Clark State looming on Saturday night, the MSU-Northern men's basketball team couldn't afford to overlook the Montana Tech Orediggers. And the Lights didn't. No. 12 Northern shook off a sluggish start and wound up beating the upstart Diggers' 82-68 Friday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
The win over Tech was a bounce-back victory for Northern, after falling by 32 points six days ago at Westminster. And though Tech got off to s strong start, Alfie Miller came in and hit two quick 3-pointers, sending MSU-N on a 9-2 first-half run. Miller would go on to hit another pair of triples late in the first half, as the Lights ran out to a 38-24 lead. Tech, behind the play of star guard Adam Greger, crept to within nine points midway through the second half, but Tech head coach Aaron Woliczko's seocnd technical foul, and three's by Jesse vaughan and Mike LaValley, helped turn a 9-point lead into a 22-point lead in a matter of minutes, and Northern didn't look back from there.
The Ligthts were, as susual stout defensively. Greger scored a game-high 20 points, but the Lights limited Tech, the NAIA's top 3-point shooting team to just five three's and 43 percent shooting for the game. Vaughan and Miller each scored 19 points as five Lights reached double figures. Devin Jackson, Roshawn West and Corbin Pearson each added 12 for the Lights.
The win over Tech pushed Northern to 5-1 in the Frontier Conference and 17-3 overall heading into tonight's showdown with third-ranked LC State. The Warriors were upset by UGF Friday night, so the Lights have a chance to take full command of the Frontier standings when they face the Warriors Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Armory.
For full coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.