LC men lose defensive showdown with No. 13 Northern
HAVRE, Mont. – In a battle between two of the top defensive teams in the NAIA, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team was outdone by Montana State University-Northern on Friday night. The Warriors fell by a final score of 53-39.
“That’s the best defensive team we’ve played all year,” said LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta. “It took us 20 minutes just to adjust.”
MSU-Northern, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA and currently leading the Frontier Conference with a 5-1 league record and 19-3 mark overall, held the Warriors to their lowest scoring total so far this season including just 16 points in the first half.
Northern’s defensive effort was no surprise as the Lights are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, holding their opponents to just 55.5 points per game.
Ranked No. 6 in scoring defense themselves, the Warriors were able to keep the Lights from running away with the game, but couldn’t get enough going on offense to catch up.
With some scoring from off the bench and a few full court press induced steals, the Warriors whittled down Northern’s 35-16 lead at the 19-minute mark to 47-39 with 3:16 left in regulation.
“I thought we came out and showed some toughness in the second half. We pressed them and were able to get a couple points off of that.”
Despite the second half surge, the Lights' defense ruled down the stretch and held the Warriors scoreless for the final three minutes to clinch the win.
Joe Simpson led the game with 16 points and was the only player to score in double-digits.
MSUN outshot Lewis-Clark State 43.4-percent to 31.3-percent; however, the Warriors did do a good job of defending Northern’s outside attack. The Lights, ranked No. 2 in the NAIA with 10.1 three-pointers per game, went just 1-of-15 from beyond the arc on Friday.
Danny Marshall came off the bench to lead LC with eight points, while Donte Archie, Spencer Drury, and Ray Stout added seven points apiece. Nick Fromm had a team-high seven rebounds.
MSU-Northern led 10-5 in steals, and committed just nine turnovers to LCSC’s 16.
“Tonight was good for us playing in this type of crazy atmosphere against this good of a team. It’s the type of game we can learn from and grow from. Hopefully that shows tomorrow night.”
The Warriors, now 2-4 in league play and 13-7 overall, will travel to face Great Falls University on Saturday. Game time is 6:30 p.m., Pacific time.
“We’re going to have to find a way to knock down some shots,” said Rinta about facing the Argos. “We’re defending right now—we just have to knock down some shots.”