Winona State, ranked No. 25 in the country, continued its recent regular season dominance over Southwest Minnesota State, earning a 75-60 victory in Marshall on Saturday night in NSIC men’s basketball.
WSU (18-3, 12-2 NSIC) earned its 12th victory and moved into a first place tie atop the NSIC standings following Minnesota State’s home loss to Augustana on Saturday night.
WSU has now defeated SMSU (11-10, 8-6 NSIC) 18 straight times in regular season play and 21 of the last 23 overall.
Clayton Vette led all scorers with 26 points and nine rebounds, making 9 of 13 shots, including two 3-pointers. Grant Johnson added 14 points on 7 of 12 shooting, while Xavier Humphrey added 12 points. WSU finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field, becoming the first team to shoot 50 percent versus SMSU this season.
SMSU shot a season-low 34 percent (19 of 56) and was outrebounded 39-30. WSU outscored SMSU 16-0 in fast-break points and 42-22 in points in the paint.
Jordan Miller paced SMSU with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds.
WSU never trailed in the game, scoring the game’s first six points and never looked back. SMSU tied the contest at 12-12 with 12 minutes and 51 seconds remaining on a layup by Nick Smith, but WSU quickly answered and built a three-point lead.
SMSU tied the score at 17-17 with 8:50 left, but again WSU with a nine-point run to take a 26-17 advantage with 6:46 remaining.
The Mustangs twice cut the deficit to two points, including 28-26 with 3:38 remaining, but the Warriors closed the half with a 9-4 run to take a 37-30 halftime lead.
WSU extended the lead to 52-41 with 13:40 on the clock in the second half, before SMSU crawled back with a 9-0 run capped by a Miller 3-pointer with 10:33 remaining to make the score 52-50.
WSU wouldn’t back down and held SMSU scoreless for four minutes to push the lead to 60-50 with 6:27 left and never looked back.
Vinard Birch (12) and Lavione West (11) rounded out SMSU’s double figure scoring.
Southwest Minnesota State returns to the road next weekend playing at Bemidji State on Friday, Feb. 1, and Minnesota, Crookston on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Courtesy: Kelly Loft, SMSU