ABERDEEN, S.D. – No. 21 Northern State held Southwest Minnesota State to 28 percent shooting in its 73-45 win in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference / Sanford Health tournament. SMSU entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed in the south, while the Wolves were the top seed in the north and held the home-court advantage.
Northern State advances to the NSIC / Sanford Health quarterfinals and will play Augustana on Saturday, March 1, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
SMSU’s season comes to an end with an overall record of 4-23. The game was the last for five Mustang seniors -- Bree Holleman, Jessie Watts, Rebekah Rolling, Hannah Beeler and Alison Nagel.
With the loss, SMSU moves to 8-10 all-time in the NSIC tournament.
Ellen Degler led SMSU with 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting. She finished with six rebounds and five steals. Nagel, SMSU’s leading scorer on the season, was held scoreless as she finished the game 0 of 7 from the field.
SMSU shot just 28 percent from the floor as the Mustangs hit on just 14 of 50 field goal attempts.
Alison Kusler led NSU to victory as she netted a game-high 19 points on an efficient 7 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. NSU out-rebounded SMSU 40-26 in the game.
SMSU tied a season-high with 15 steals in the game. SMSU also recorded 15 steals in its win over Crown College to open the season.
Courtesy SMSU Adam Henning
MARSHALL, Minn. – Vinard Birch scored a team-high 18 points to lead Southwest Minnesota State to an 82-65 victory over the University of Mary in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Tournament at the R/A Facility on Wednesday night.
SMSU (18-11), the No. 3 seed in the NSIC South, will now face No. 7S Wayne State in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Sunday night at 8:30 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Wayne State upset No. 2N Bemidji State 88-76 on Wednesday.
U-Mary ends its season with a record of 7-21.
Birch was one of four Mustangs to score in double figures. Joey Bartlett came off the bench to score 17 points – his highest total since scoring 20 versus MSU Moorhead on Jan. 4. Nick Smith added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while William Giddings chipped in with 11 points.
Chris Mason led the Marauders with 22 points with three 3-pointers, while Marc Musungayi poured in 20 points on of 10 of 12 shooting with six rebounds.
SMSU shot 54 percent (32 of 59) from the field, including 7 of 15 from 3-point range and committed just eight turnovers. U-Mary closed the game shooting 43 percent (25 of 58) from the field, but made just 4 of 16 3-pointers and committed 12 turnovers.
The Mustangs finished with an 18-4 scoring advantage on points off of turnovers.
SMSU held a 14-13 lead with 10 minutes and 18 seconds remaining in the first half before a free throw by Mitch Weg and back-to-back field goals by Smith pushed the Mustang lead to 19-13.
A layup by U-Mary’s Musungayi made the score 19-15 before SMSU put together a 9-0 run – closed by a 3-pointer by Shaun Condon - to build its largest lead of the half at 30-15 with 5:48 left.
SMSU maintained a double digit lead for the remainder of the half and took a 38-25 lead into the break.
The Mustangs shot 53 percent in the half, held a 17-12 rebound advantage and forced the Marauders into nine turnovers, which led to 12 SMSU points.
U-Mary came out with a quick start to the second half trimming the deficit to seven points on two occasions, including 47-40 at the 16:27 mark. SMSU stopped the U-Mary comeback with a Birch layup and a 3-pointer by Bartlett to extend the margin to 52-40.
The Marauders wouldn’t go away and pulled to within 61-53 with 8:33 left, but Bartlett and Zager scored on jumpers and Condon connected on a 3-pointer to push the lead to 68-53 at the 6:55 mark and the lead never dipped below 11 points the remainder of the game.
SMSU has defeated Wayne State twice this season, winning 80-61 in Marshall on Dec. 7 and 58-56 in Wayne, Neb., on Jan. 24.
Courtesy SMSU Kelly Loft