ST. CLOUD, MINN. – Despite placing three players in double-digits, the University of Sioux Falls Men’s Basketball Team (10-8, 6-6 NSIC) dropped a 72-63 decision at St. Cloud State (9-10, 5-7 NSIC) on Friday night in Halenbeck Hall.
With the loss the Cougars dropped to 10-8 overall and 6-6 in the NSIC. However, USF remains in second place, a half-game against of SMSU at 6-7 and Minnesota State at 5-6. The Cougars will face NSIC North leader Minnesota Duluth at 5:30 pm on Saturday in Duluth, Minn.
USF, which led early, 14-6, trailed 24-23 at halftime before SCSU had a 48-40 margin in the second half to pick up the win.
Senior guard Matt Cartwright scored 16 points, including 4-of-10 from three-point range, to lead USF. He had his 51st double-digit scoring game of his career and improved to 1,143 career points. Junior Chase Grinde supplied 14 points and seven rebounds as he had his 47th double-digit scoring game and moved to 935 career points. Sophomore guard Jack Thompson added 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. He now has 31 double-digit scoring games in his career. Also for USF, guard Cedric Johnson had eight points, a block and an assist to go with five rebounds. Senior forward Austin Slater had eight points with 11 rebounds. It was his 13th career double-digit rebound game and his second in four games.
Overall, USF was 25-of-63 for 39.7 percent from the field with 5-of-17 from three-point range for 29.4 percent. The Cougars, which lost the rebound battle, 38-36, were outscored at the foul line, 21-to-8, a major factor in the final tally. SCSU was 23-of-57 from the field for 40.4 percent and 5-of-18 for 27.8 percent from three-point range. SCSU, which hit 46.7 percent (14-of-30) in the second half as they earned the win. Caleb Donaldson had 18 points and six rebounds while Anthony Roberts had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. While USF had a 36-to-32 margin of points in paint, including 11-1 margin in second chance points, they were outscored on points off turnovers, 13-to-5.
USF led early, 14-6 but SCSU closed on an 18-to-9 run to grab a 24-23 lead at the halftime break. USF hit just 11-of-33 field goals for 33.3 percent and was 1-of-7 from three-point range for 14.3 percent in the opening half. USF, which was outrebounded, 21-19, had four steals and just four turnovers. Grinde led USF with six points. SCSU, which had six points from Donaldson, Roberts and Curtis Alexander, also hit 33.3 percent on 9-of-27 shooting. However, they made 2-of-10 from three-point range and made 4-of-4 free throws despite seven turnovers.
With a pair of early baskets from Grinde, USF built a 6-4 lead at the 15-minute mark. Johnson converted a drive as the Cougars took a 10-6 lead with 12 minutes to play. After Slater scored inside and Johnson had his second basket of the half, USF led 14-6 with 10:41 to play. USF still held a 16-11 lead with 8:32 but SCSU scored seven straight points before Matt Cartwright’s three-point gave USF a 21-18 lead. Then, SCSU had a closing run of 6-2 for the one-point halftime edge (24-23).
Early in the second half, USF, which hit 14-of-30 for 46.7 percent, took a couple of leads after baskets from Thompson and Grinde for a 29-29 advantage. After that, SCSU, which had a 17-to-8 margin at the foul line in the second half, took control. SCSU took a 34-29 lead after a jumper from Daniel Giestler and two foul shots by Donaldson with 15 minutes to play. A three from Matt Willert, who scored 17 points, provided SCSU with a 37-29 lead. Johnson converted a pair of lay-ups to cut the lead to 41-35 with 10:46 to play.
But each time, USF made a run, SCSU answered. Willert’s basket at 8:01 pushed the lead by the Huskies to 46-35.
The Cougars knocked in back-to-back threes from Cartwright and Jake Kettner, to draw within 48-41 with seven minutes to play. After USF cut the lead to 54-49, Giestler, who scored seven second half points, hit a three for a 57-48 lead with 3:48 to play. Twice USF cut the lead to five points but could draw no closer as SCSU continued to knock in foul shots late after the Cougars were forced to foul to increase the opportunities to try to cut into the lead.