Sioux Falls (13-10, 10-9 NSIC) led by as many as 18 points and three Cougars scored in double-figures, as the USF men posted their third road win of the season with a strong offensive effort in an 83-72 victory over Minot State (8-15, 4-15) on Friday evening at the MSU Dome in Minot, N.D.
Junior guard Charles Ward finished with a career-high 25 points, including a 3-for-4 effort from beyond the three-point arc. Senior guard and NSIC free throw leader Derek Brown was the most efficient scorer on the court, netting 12 points on 2-for-3 shooting from deep and a perfect 6-for-6 night at the charity stripe. Brown has now made 56 of 58 free throw attempts this season (96.5%).
Mahlon Jones went 4-for-8 from the floor for 11 points.
With the game tied at 11-all, the Beavers went on an 8-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Thomas Korf for a six-point advantage at the 12:34 mark of the first half. MSU maintained its lead for more than ten minutes but the Cougars kept chipping away, erasing their deficit with back-to-back Ward threes that moved USF in front 33-28 with 1:56 to play.
USF lead 35-31 at the break but a Minot State played was issued a technical foul at the close of the first half. Brown was selected for the technical shots and he hit both before Ward and Jones knocked triples to give USF a double-digit margin (43-31) that they would maintain for the majority of the second half. A Ward jumper gave the Cougars their largest lead at 72-54 with just over four minutes on the clock.
Minot State sliced its deficit in half in the closing minutes but were forced to foul and the Cougars went seven for eight from the line in the final two minutes to close out the NSIC road win.
Preston Rayburn finished with eight points, while Bryan Kielpinski filled the stat sheet with nine points, two blocks and a team-best seven rebounds.
The Cougars hit 50.0 percent (26-52) in the contest and converted nine of twenty three-pointers. USF edged the Beavers 34-31 in total rebounding and converted 12 MSU turnovers into 13 points.
The USF bench outscored the Beaver reserves, 23-7.
The Cougars improved to 10-0 this year when leading at the break, while head coach Chris Johnson is now 6-0 all-time against Minot State.
USF wraps up the weekend with a 6 p.m. tilt tomorrow at the University of Mary.
Courtesy: Stephanie Pendrys, USF