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Lights back in NAIA Top 25; Skylights hold steady

 

February 5, 2014

Daniel Horton

Montana State University-Northern's Gabe Finley, right, shoots over a UGF defender during a Frontier men's game last month in Havre. The Lights moved up to No. 23 this week in the NAIA Coaches Poll.

Winning back-to-back games against a nationally ranked rival, and another win on the road will certainly make you a team on the rise. And that’s the case with the Montana State University-Northern men’s basketball team.

The Lights dropped out of the NAIA Coaches Poll two weeks ago, but after consecutive 54-50 wins over UGF, and last Saturday night’s 78-71 win at Lewis-Clark State, the Lights moved back into the poll this week. Northern is ranked No. 23 in the new poll, which features three Frontier Conference squads for the first time since December.

The Lights (19-5), who are just one win away from another 20-win season, are joined in the poll by Rocky Mountain College and UM-Western. Like Northern, the Battlin’ Bears dropped out two weeks ago after being ranked as high as No. 9 early in the year. RMC is ranked No. 16 this week, while UM-Western dropped from No. 19 to No. 25. UGF dropped all the way out of the poll.

Meanwhile, the Skylights are still ranked in the Top 25 after a road split last weekend. MSU-N beat UGF 52-51 last Thursday but fell to No. 13 Lewis-Clark State 80-68 Saturday night. The Skylights slipped two spots to No. 19 this week, while LCSC remained at No. 13. League-leading Westminster held its spot at No. 3.

RMC senior Joel Barndt was named the Frontier Conference Men’s Player of the Week, while Northern’s Alfie Miller was nominated for the award. LCSC’s Tannis Fuller was named Frontier Women’s Player of the Week. Northern’s A’Jha Edwards was nominated as well.

The Lights and Skylights are home to host Montana Tech Friday night and LCSC Saturday night.

NAIA Women's Coaches Poll

Rn. Prv. Rec. Pts.

1 1 Vanguard (Calif.) (9) 17-0 250

2 2 Freed-Hardeman (1) 21-0 242

3 3 Westminster (Utah) 16-2 234

4 5 Oklahoma Baptist 19-2 226

5 8 Campbellsville (Ky.) 20-2 213

5 7 Oklahoma City 14-2 213

7 4 MidAmerica Nazarene 17-2 204

8 6 Georgetown (Ky.) 15-4 193

9 9 The Master's (Calif.) 17-4 184

10 10 Our Lady of the Lake 17-2 178

11 14 Westmont (Calif.) 15-5 162

12 12 Wiley (Texas) 19-2 161

13 13 Lewis-Clark State 22-2 156

14 15 Columbia (Mo.) 16-5 145

15 16 Bethel (Tenn.) 16-6 137

16 19 John Brown (Ark.) 16-4 124

17 17 Hope International (Calif.) 13-6 123

18 20 Baker (Kan.) 17-5 119

19 17 MSU-Northern 17-5 105

20 23 Xavier (La.) 17-6 96

21 22 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 17-4 94

22 11 Talladega (Ala.) 18-2 80

23 21 Cumberlands (Ky.) 14-7 67

24 25 LSU Shreveport (La.) 15-5 62

25 24 Mobile (Ala.) 15-5 57

Others Receiving Votes: Benedictine (Kan.) 46; Lyon (Ark.) 41; Coastal Georgia 35; Central Methodist (Mo.) 27; Southern Poly (Ga.) 14; Loyola (La.) 4, Wayland Baptist (Texas) 4.

NAIA Men's Coaches Poll

Rn. Prv. Rec. Pts.

1 T1 Cal State San Marcos (9) 21-1 250

2 3 Pikeville (Ky.) (1) 19-2 239

3 T1 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 18-1 231

4 4 SAGU (Texas) 19-2 230

5 5 William Carey (Miss.) 15-2 222

6 6 Columbia (Mo.) 20-2 204

7 7 Talladega (Ala.) 19-3 201

8 10 Evangel (Mo.) 18-4 193

9 12 Vanguard (Calif.) 19-2 192

10 11 Emmanuel (Ga.) 19-2 177

11 13 Xavier (La.) 17-5 162

12 15 Culver-Stockton (Mo.) 16-4 153

13 18 Georgetown (Ky.) 17-5 146

14 16 Mid-America Christian 13-5 142

15 17 LSU Shreveport (La.) 14-5 136

16 RV Rocky Mountain 16-6 130

17 20 Philander Smith (Ark.) 16-5 113

18 NR Biola (Calif.) 14-8 110

19 14 Rio Grande (Ohio) 15-7 109

20 9 Benedictine (Kan.) 15-6 91

21 21 Wiley (Texas) 15-4 90

22 8 Concordia (Calif.) 16-6 88

23 NR MSU-Northern 19-5 85

24 22 St. Gregory's (Okla.) 16-5 76

25 19 Montana Western 13-8 49

Others Receiving Votes: Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 48; St. Catharine (Ky.) 45; Life (Ga.) 20; Westmont (Calif.) 18; Oklahoma City 11; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 9; Faulkner (Ala.) 5; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 3; Central Methodist (Mo.) 3; Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 3.

 

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