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Lights defeat Bulldogs to take conference lead

UMW News Bureau

The Montana State University-Northern Lights hit some key three point shots late in the second half and defeated the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 63-55 in Havre Saturday night. By Lowell Peterson  The Montana State University-Northern Lights hit some key three point shots late in the second half and defeated the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 63-55 in Havre Saturday night. The Lights (2-0) and Bulldogs (3-0) entered the game with perfect records in Frontier Conference play and the game was expected to be a battle to the finish. Montana Western entered the game averaging 77 points a game and MSU-Northern 74.4. Defensively, Montana Western was giving up 70.2 points a game and the Lights were tops in the conference at 56.4 points a game allowed. Defense proved to be the key factor on the night for both teams. The Bulldogs were held to 22 points under their season average and the Lights scored 11 less points than their season average. The biggest offensive factor in the game was the Light’s three point shooting. Northern made six of fifteen threes in the first half to the Bulldogs’ one of five and took a 30-27 lead into the halftime break. The second half continued to be a fierce battle with the Lights building a lead and the Bulldogs battling back to get within two points on several occasions. With the game still up for grabs late in the second half, Shaun Tatarka and Devin Jackson each hit a long-range three pointer to give the Lights enough of a cushion to hold on for the victory. Brandon Brown was the lone offensive force and only player to score in double figures for the Bulldogs. Brown finished with 28 points but also took over half of his team’s field goal attempts (24 of 46). Kyle Erickson and Bridger Chambers each scored eight points, both making four of five field goal attempts, and Tyler Hurley finished with seven points. As a team Montana Western shot .478 (22-46) from the field, .273 (3-11) on three pointers and .667 (8-12) from the free throw line. The Lights had three players score in double figures. Jackson scored 13 points and Joe Simpson had 12 points and seven rebounds. LaVon Myers scored 11, netting all of his points from the free throw line (11-11). Tatarka hit three shots from long range for nine points. Northern was .444 (20-45) from the field, .370 (10-27) from beyond the three point line and .867 (13-15) on free throws. MSU-Northern (3-0, 18-2) took over the top spot in the conference. Montana Western dropped to 3-1 in the conference and 15-5 overall. The Bulldogs next game will be against the Montana Tech Orediggers in the HPER Complex in Butte, Mont. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Orediggers are tied with Lewis-Clark State for fourth place in the conference at 2-2 and have a 10-5 overall record on the season.
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