Third-seed Dakota State overcame a 28.6 percent shooting in the first-half Friday evening to defeat sixth-seed Northern Mexico 82-67 at the Civic Center in the quarterfinals of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II Men's Basketball Conference Tournament. The Trojans outscored the Eagles 57-32 in the second-half after trailing by 10 points at halftime.
Dakota State recorded their 20th victory of the season (currently 20-9 overall record), which tied the DSU school record for most victories in a single season (happened twice – 1990-91 and 1966-67 seasons). Northern New Mexico ended their season with an overall record of 11-17.
The Trojans struggled in the opening minutes of the game as they missed the first nine shots to give NNMC a 7-0 lead.
DSU ended their scoring drought as Tyrone Gordon, Jr. made a basket with fourteen minutes and 22 seconds left in the first-half (7-2 NNMC lead).
The Eagles extended their lead to 23-10 with 6:21 remaining before halftime. NNMC maintained their lead as they earned a 35-25 halftime advantage.
Dakota State shot 8-for-28 from the field in the first-half, including 1-for-15 behind the 3-point line. Northern New Mexico was 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the field in the first twenty minutes of the game.
Trailing at 39-25 (19:06 left in the game), the Trojans went on a 21-3 scoring tear to gain their first lead of the game at 46-45 with 13:17 remaining (after Yusuf Vinson nailed down a 3-point shot).
The Trojans continued their strong scoring run and extended to the largest lead of the game at 75-59 with three minutes left.
DSU secured the game as they maintained their double digits lead for the rest of the game. NNMC could not get any closer than 12 points (77-65) with 1:22 remaining.
Dakota State shot a blistering 53.3 percent (16-for-30) in the second-half and 6-for-14 from the 3-point arc (42.9 percent). The Trojans converted 19 free-throws in 24 attempts (79.2 percent). Northern New Mexico was 11-for-29 from the field (37.9 percent) and 1-for-10 from the 3-point line in the final twenty minutes of the game.
Five DSU players scored in double digits. Luke Lamb scored a game-high 21 points. He was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. Vinson added 15 points. Gordon, Jr. and Marcus Smith each had 12 points. Cameron Krump scored 10 points off the bench. John Lamb had eight points.
Krump led the Trojans with eight rebounds. Vinson and Luke Lamb each recorded seven rebounds.
Gordon, Jr. dished out eight assists for Dakota State. John Lamb added four assists. Gordon, Jr. and John Lamb each had four steals.
Smith had two blocked shots for DSU.
Brandon Jones scored 18 points for the Eagles. Illya Glover added 17 points off the bench. Gabriel Martinez had 10 points.
Rodney Coles grabbed six rebounds for NNMC. Coles and Rodney Holland each recorded four assists.
DSU shot 41.4 percent overall from the field (24-for-58) compared to NNMC 46.4 percent (26-for-56). The Trojans were 7-for-29 behind the 3-point line (24.1 percent), while the Eagles were 5-for-17 from the 3-point arc (29.4 percent).
The Trojans made 27 free-throws in 34 attempts (79.4 percent). Northern New Mexico was 10-for-13 from the free-throw line (76.9 percent).
NNMC committed 20 turnovers in the game compared to DSU 12 turnovers. The Trojans outscored the Eagles 23-3 in points off turnovers.
DSU had a slim rebounding advantage. The Trojans recorded 36 rebounds compared to NNMC 35 rebounds.
Dakota State returns back to action Saturday evening in the semifinals of the 2013 A.I.I. Division II Men's Basketball Conference Tournament. The Trojans will face No. 23-ranked and A.I.I.'s second-seed team Valley City State (N.D.). Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the championship game (on Sunday) and an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament (other semifinals pairing feature No. 9 and top-seed Rochester, Mich. versus the winner of No. 4 seed Ashford-No. 5 seed Jamestown at 7:30 p.m.).