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Frontier Basketball Scores, Thursday 1/7

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Skylights Down Lady Argos

Erin Legel scored 25 points against the top-ranked defense in the NAIA but couldn’t lead the Lady Argos to victory in a 73-53 loss to (2) Montana State-Northern.

The first two quarters saw Great Falls keep within striking distance of MSUN. Their defense held the Skylights to just 11 first quarter points and a strong 18 points for UGF in the second quarter kept the game within six at the half. That 18-point quarter was the highest scoring portion of the game for the Lady Argos against MSUN’s stifling defense.

“I thought we did a good job in the first half and after that we just struggled a little bit,” head coach Bill Himmelberg said.

While UGF stayed about even with the Skylights in rebounding, steals, and team fouls the Lady Argo’s 34 percent shooting and 13 turnovers led to a scoring deficit that increased in the final two quarters. The Northern defense also held UGF’s leading scorer, Nneka Nnadi, to three points and just two shot attempts.

“We’re not going to win any games when she only gets two shots. So we need to find a way to get her more shot,” Himmelberg said. “She had a rough night tonight but I know she’s going to come out against Carroll on Saturday and have a better night.”

The two bright spots offensively for the Lady Argos were senior guard Erin Legel and sophomore guard Stephanie McDonagh who combined for 35 of the team’s 53 points. Legel finished with a team high of 25 points and also accounted for both of the team’s two made 3-pointers.

“Erin had a heck of a night tonight and really kept in the game for a lot of the time,” Himmelberg said. “Steph did a great job of guarding Jacy Thompson, their leading scorer, and holding her to ten points.”

Junior center Brice Henning put in some important minutes for starting center Whitney George who found herself in foul trouble through much of the game. Henning led the team with seven rebounds and also contributed four points.

The loss is a tough start to the heart of conference play for the Argos but they have a chance to get things back on track with a huge home game against rival (5) Carroll College on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

UGF’s record is now 10-5 (1-2). 



Argo Men Upset Northern

 

After a 0-2 start to Frontier Conference play, Argo basketball proved its up to the task of a tough conference schedule with a dramatic 68-67 win over (23) Montana State University-Northern.

“Its always important to get a win, especially on the road. Getting that first win is huge and now we have a big home stretch, so if we can take care of business we’ll be in pretty good shape,” head coach Anthony Owens said.

The Argos scored 42 points in the second half to overcome a four-point first half deficit and made made half of their 3-point attempts to overcome their 10 turnovers.

UGF gained their final one-point lead from a fast break layup by senior guard Darren Lockett in the final minute.  The Argos then held the Northern Lights scoreless on their final few possessions to earn their first win of the season over a ranked opponent.

“Its an exciting night for us. I’m still trying to get to a point where I can enjoy it but I’m still overexcited I guess,” Owens said after the game. “Shoot I can’t even remember the last couple plays. I’ll get a chance to see it when I watch the film, but its blurry right now.”

One thing that was clear, was the outstanding play of who scored 27 points (including the game winner), grabbed seven boards, dished two assists, and had the team’s only steal. As one of three seniors on the team, Lockett has been one of coach Owen’s most consistent players all season.

“When he gets going, I just kind of let him go. I started running some plays for him and he took advantage of it,” Owens said. “Sometimes you get caught up in all this athleticism but you know what? I just need guys who are reliable and I can count on. Its fun to coach these guys.”

Both teams picked up the scoring in the final twenty minutes after rather pedestrian shooting numbers in the first half. The Argos hit 55 percent from the floor in the second half, including three of four from behind the arc.

Not only did they take care of the offensive end in the second half, but they also held the top ranked team in the NAIA in made 3-point field goals per game to just 21 percent shooting from long distance.

“We really did a good job of taking them off the three-point line. That’s something we drilled all week,” Owens said. “Sometimes they might get drives but we at least made it difficult for them.”

Besides Lockett, the Argo’s other statistical leaders were junior forward Isaac Howard with 14 points and two assists, and sophomore guard Sergio Berkley with 13 points.

While sophomore forward Sigman Farmer III only added two points the Argo’s final total he made his impact evident in a number of other ways. He led the team in rebounds (12), assists (3), and blocks (1) during his 27 minutes on the floor.

Not only did the win give UGF its first conference win, but it also serves as a crucial positive start to a three game gauntlet that could set the tone, good or bad, for the rest of the Argo’s conference season. MSUN was the first of three straight ranked opponents for UGF, all of them conference foes.

With a record of 8-4 (1-1), Great Falls will next play rival (16) Carroll College as the Argos return to the McLaughlin Center for a six game home stand. UGF will play the Fighting Saints on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

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