BUTTE — Five players scored in double figures as the Montana State-Northern men’s basketball held off a Montana Tech rally to move to 13-9 on the season.
The Orediggers pulled within five points late, but a technical foul on Taylor England after he scored near the rim drew it back out to seven. Tech head coach Adam Hiatt said after the game the explanation he got from the referee after was that England had said ‘and one’ after the shot. The Lights were not called for a foul on the play.
Justin Dunsmore had 16 points and eight rebounds for Northern while Kavon Bey had a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double.
“I couldn’t be more happy. This is a very, very good Tech team, if not a great Tech team,” MSU-Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. “I’m just proud of my guys for weathering some tough stretches and staying poised.”
The Lights held a 38-21 halftime advantage and finished the final six minutes on an 18-6 run. Tech was able to come out of the locker room with a bit more of an edge, but simply weren’t able to get the defensive stops they needed to put a long run together.
Solid defense was the key for Northern and they often forced Tech into bad shots, though the Orediggers were firing off some quick shots early in the shot clock. Northern actually lost the turnover battle 10-5 and had just one steal, but were able to avoid enough mistakes of its own to get the win.
Efficiency was also one of Northern’s calling cards in this game and they were able to make 23-of-51 shots (45.1 percent) in the win.
Tech hit just 23-of-62 (37.1 percent) and only made 3-of-11 3-pointers.
“We got to go out and win a conference game,” Hiatt said. “You can’t go out and score 58 points on your home floor and expect to win a conference game.”
Mascio McCadney was also a constant thorn in Tech’s side and he finished with 13 points on 10 shots. One of the more athletic guards in the Frontier Conference, he was able to bend his body around numerous times for tough layups.
Troy Owens Jr. finished with a game-high 23 points and hit two 3-pointers. England had 22 points and finished with 12 rebounds, four of which were offensive. Derrius Collins had seven points for the Orediggers, but struggled from the field and only made three of his 10 field goal attempts.
The Lights also had a major advantage at the free throw line, hitting 17-of-22 shots — Tech had just 13 attempts, making nine of them. The Orediggers also had just five assists on their 23 field goals.
“Didn’t think we had great team unity from the get-go, we had a lot of guys that were concerned with playing time and their own status,” Hiatt said. “Had a lot of open shots we didn’t make and I thought they dictated tempo in the first half and that’s how the game got away from us.”