Ian Smith’s Late Hoop Lifts Northern Past Mankato
Ian Smith's Late Hoop Lifts Northern Past Mankato
Sioux Falls, S.D. – Down one with 14 seconds remaining, the No. 11 Northern State University men’s basketball team had ball with the game on the line. Junior Ian Smith stepped up big, driving the lane and hitting the game winner with just five seconds left on the clock. The 79-78 victory over Minnesota State propels the Wolves into the NSIC/Sanford Health Basketball Tournament Championship. With the win, Northern notches their 30th victory of the season and hands the Mavericks their ninth loss.
It was a grind as the Mavericks out-shot the Wolves from the floor and the 3-point line. Northern shot 45.3 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent from the arc, hitting all six made 3-pointers in the second half. The Wolves out-rebounded the Mavericks 41-30 and tallied 11 second chance points off of 17 offensive boards.
NSU tallied 38 points in the paint, 17 points of the bench, 12 points off turnovers, and two fast break points. They combined for 15 assists, four steals, and three blocks in the win. The victory marks the second time this season the Wolves have recorded a win on their final possession of the game. Four Wolves scored in double figures, while three shot 50.0 percent or better from the floor.
Smith not only hit the game winner, but also led the team with 16 points. He added a team leading seven assists, as well as six rebounds and a 43.8 field goal percentage. Carter Evans was second on the team notching 15 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field. The senior added three rebounds, a team high two blocks, and one assist.
Darin Peterka added 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Peterka hit three from beyond the arc and added three rebounds and four assists. Logan Doyle was the final Wolf in double figures, leading the team off the bench with ten points. Doyle shot 57.1 percent from the floor and tallied a team high eight rebounds.
DJ Pollard and Gabe King rounded out the starting five with nine and eight points respectively. Pollard tallied four rebounds and one steal, while King added five rebounds and two assists. Bo Fries and Andrew Kallman combined for the final seven team points, with Fries going 2-of-4 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the foul line.
The Wolves will face the winner of the Southwest Minnesota State and St. Cloud State game at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the championships from the Sanford Pentagon. Northern last appeared in the NSIC Tournament title game back in 2007-08, where they fell to Winona State. The Wolves won the tournament championship in both 2003-04 and 2004-05.