USF, Northern and SMSU Advance, Augie Loses in NSIC Tournament

USF, Northern and SMSU Advance, Augie Loses in NSIC Tournament

USF Recap

SIOUX FALLS — Keyed by a fast start and high energy throughout the night, the University of Sioux Falls Men’s Basketball Team (19-10) rolled to a 96-51 victory over Minot State (14-18) in the NSIC Sanford Health Postseason Tournament at the Stewart Center on Wednesday.

USF opened with a 15-3 lead and led 44-25 at halftime. In the second half, the Cougars doubled up the Beavers, 52-26, to take a decisive 96-51 victory and avenge a 75-70 loss to MiSU on Jan. 19 at the Stewart Center.

The victory sends USF to the quarterfinals of the NSIC Sanford Health Tournament for a fourth straight season. USF, which won its second straight home first round tournament game, has won 4-of-5 games. They will meet the No. 1 seed in the North and overall NSIC regular season champion Northern State (23-6) at noon on Sunday at the Sanford Pentagon.

“This was a great night for this team,” said USF Head Coach Chris Johnson, who registered his 211th career win and 195th at USF. “We played with tremendous energy and had a lot of fun out there. Everybody contributed in this win. This group loves to play this game and they have great chemistry,” added Johnson, whose USF program is now 4-6 in league tournament games.

Keying the victory was a pair of USF seniors. All-NSIC guard Trevon Evans had 23 points, three rebounds, five assists and a steal in 30 minutes of work. Aaron Rothermund also reached double digits with 16 points, including 4-of-6 from three-point range and 5-of-8 overall from the field. He also provided four rebounds, assist and steal. The Cougars, which shot 55.6 percent from the field (35-of-63) received points from 13 players.

USF, which shot over 50 percent for the ninth time this season, hit 10-of-22 from three-point range for 45.5 percent. It was the eighth time this season and third in four games in which USF had at least 10 triples as a team. USF, which was 16-of-25 at the foul line, had a substantial edge on the boards at 49-to-28. For the 28th time in 29 games, USF, the top rebounding team in the NSIC, had outboarded its opponent. It was the 19th time this year, USF had outrebounded its opponent by 10 or more.

Evans surpassed 20 points for the 34th time in his career and ran his career point total to 1,274, which ranks 16th on USF all-time list. Evans, who has the most points at USF in two years at the school, also has 663 points this season which is the fourth most for a season in school history. Additionally, he now has 55 career double-digit scoring games and with two more triples has the eighth most threes in a career at 153.

Senior Drew Guebert added seven points and seven rebounds as he moved his career total to 1,958 points and 607 rebounds. He is one of seven players with at least 1,500 points and 600 boards in school history. Sophomore Teachloach Pal had eight points and six rebounds while redshirt freshman Chase Grinde added nine points and five rebounds with two assists. Justin Taylor came off the bench to add nine points, including three by dunk, and had a rebound and blocked shot.

As for the Beavers, they were led in scoring by David Akibo with 16 points and nine rebounds while Max Cody had 10 points. However, USF made a big adjustment against Akibo who had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the last meeting between the teams.

USF, which leads the league in defending shooters (41.2 percent) held MiSU to just 32.3 percent for the game on 20-of-62 shooting. USF held its third opponent this year to 51 or fewer points. And, they limited the Beavers to 7-of-23 from three-point range.

Part of the USF’s success came in sharing the basketball. USF tied a season-high with 19 assists (Concordia St. Paul, Jan. 12, 2019) on 35 made baskets. The Cougars also had just 11 turnovers, while forcing MiSU into 14 mistakes.

Game Breakdown —
Early on, the Cougars had control of the game. USF opened up a 10-2 lead on a three-pointer by Austin Slater and pushed the advanced to 17-3 on a lay-up from Guebert with 14:40 to play. It was a good sign of things to come for USF, which then had a 19-14 advantage for a 36-17 lead with 4:37 to play in the half when Evans scored inside. At the 2:58 mark, Evans led another surge. USF had a 6-2 run for a 44-22 lead with 52 seconds to play. Cody’s three with two seconds left cut the deficit to 19 (44-25).

In that opening half, USF had a 10-to-0 lead in points off turnovers and a 6-0 margin in fast break points. Rothermund hit a trio of three on five attempts and scored 11 points to lead USF. Evans had 11 points and three assist for USF, which made 15-of-33 shots for 45.5 percent. MiSU was just 10-of-27 for 37 percent from the field in the opening half. By the break, USF had a 26-to-13 margin on the boards.

The second half proceeded the same way for USF as the opening 20 minutes. The Cougars hit 20-of-30 field goals for 66.7 percent in the second half, which was too much for MiSU to overcome after trailing by 19 at the halftime break.

Evans hit a three 12 seconds into the half and led a 10-1 run which turned USF lead into a 30-point (56-26) advantage at the 15:50 mark.  MiSU cut the lead to 22 points at the 12:31 mark when Dorian Aluyi knocked home a triple.

However, the momentum was all USF and they pushed the lead to 45 at the 3:22 mark when Ryan Wieneke hit the second of two straight baskets off assists from Milan Sulic. As a result, the Cougars finished their home record at 8-4 and increased their series margin to 10-3 against MiSU, which they defeated for the second time in the conference tournament.

Northern Recap

Aberdeen, S.D. – The Northern State University men’s basketball team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Basketball Tournament with an 88-65 victory over Concordia-St. Paul on Wednesday evening. The Wolves improve to 23-6 overall with the win and will continue their postseason run from Sioux Falls.

Northern led for nearly all 40 minutes of action, producing an efficient offensive attack as they shot 55.0 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from the 3-point line. The Wolves out-rebounded the Golden Bears 41-27 in the win, and hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line. They combined for 12 made 3-pointers, 23 assists, four steals, and two blocks.

In addition, NSU tallied 40 points in the paint, 30 points off the bench, 12 points off turnovers, and seven points off nine offensive boards. Four Wolves finished the evening in double figures, while five knocked down two long range buckets. The men were a well-oiled machine from the tip-off, leading by as much as 31 with 6:42 to play in regulation.

Gabe King and Bo Fries led the team with 15 points apiece. King knocked down 5-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the 3-point line, adding five rebounds and four assists. Fries added six rebounds and two assists to the team total, shooting 83.3 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from the 3-point line. The pair each went a perfect 3-for-3 from the foul line as well.

Justin Decker was not far behind, scoring 14 points of his own; in addition, to a team high nine rebounds. The senior shot 77.8 percent in the win, and recorded one assist. Parker Fox led the team off the bench with ten points and seven rebounds. He added one block and shot 71.4 percent from the field.

Ian Smith and Andrew Kallman led the team dishing out eight and five assists respectively. Kallman added eight points, one rebound, and one steal, while Smith tallied six points, five rebounds, and two steals.

Mason Stark and Jordan Belka added eight and six points off the bench for the Wolves, each knocking down both of their attempted 3-pointers. Stark added three rebounds and two assists in the game. Cole Dahl and Ethan Kranhold hit the final two team 3-pointers in the win, notching three points apiece.

Northern will face off against the winner of the Minot State and Sioux Falls game from the Sanford Pentagon with tip-off set for 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. All members of the military and their spouses will be admitted free to the contest with valid military ID.


SMSU Recap

MOORHEAD, Minn. – Ryan Bruggeman scored a game-high 35 points, while Michael Lee added 20 points to pace Southwest Minnesota State to a thrilling 86-81 victory over MSU Moorhead in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament on Wednesday night at Nemzek Fieldhouse.

SMSU, the No. 5 seed from the NSIC South Division, improves to 16-13 overall and will now advance to the tournament quarterfinals on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and will take on No. 8N Bemidji State at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

BSU upset Minnesota State, top the seed from the NSIC South, 66-56 on Wednesday night. SMSU defeated BSU, 84-62, in Marshall on Feb. 2.

MSU Moorhead, the No. 4 seed from the NSIC North, closes its season with a record of 19-12.

Bruggeman, the NSIC’s leader scorer, connected on 12 of 22 from the field with three 3-pointers, while dishing out a game-high seven assists. Lee, who was held scoreless for the game’s first 16 minutes, closed the night making 6 of 8 shots, including four 3-pointers and four rebounds. He also reached the 200 career 3-pointers made mark during the game and now has 202 in his career.

Kenny Byers also reached double figures in scoring for the Mustangs, closing with 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Byers made several big plays down the stretch and closed the game with four steals and was a perfect 3 of 3 from the foul line.

SMSU finished the game shooting 56 percent (30 of 54) from the field, while making 10 of 17 3-pointers. The Mustangs, which committed just five turnovers, forced the Dragons into 14 turnovers which led to 24 points for the Mustangs.

MSUM also shot well finishing the game shooting 57 percent (33 of 58) with seven 3-pointers. MSUM held a 35-20 rebound advantage and did not allow an offensive rebound to SMSU the entire game. The Dragons had five players in double figures with Addison Park closing with 19 points and 10 rebounds on 8 of 11 shooting.

The teams played a tight opening half as the game was tied seven times and featured three lead changes. SMSU held an early four point advantage before MSUM rallied and build a 15-10 lead with 12:45 on the clock.

SMSU would later tie the game at 18 midway through the half following a Kenny Byers jumper, but MSUM answered and built another five-point lead at 25-20 after a Coad 3-pointer at the 6:16 mark.

The teams would exchange long-range jumpers over the next few minutes as the lead changed several times. Nick Dufualt hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two points, but Coad came through again with another 3-pointer to make the score 28-23. The Mustangs answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Bruggeman and Lee to regain the lead at 29-28 with just over three minutes left in the half.

Bruggeman hit two free throws to give SMSU a 37-35 lead with 1:19 remaining, but following an SMSU turnovers, Coad drilled another 3-pointer at the first half buzzer to give the Dragons a 38-37 halftime lead.

SMSU and MSUM both shot 55 percent in the opening half and both teams connected on three 3-pointers.

The Mustangs stormed out of the gate to open the second half as Lee scored seven quick points, while Braedan Hanson drilled 3-pointer to give SMSU a 47-40 lead with 18 minutes left in the game.

Bruggeman would eventually push the lead to 49-40 with a layup to cap a 10-0 run, before MSUM stopped the run with back-to-back field goals.

Dufault would connect on a 3-pointer to give SMSU a 54-44 lead at the 14:25 mark, but MSUM used a 13-3 run to tie the game at 57. Highlighting the Dragon run was a pair of 3-pointers by redshirt Bryce Irsfeld.

Bruggeman once again came through and put SMSU back in front hitting a 3-pointer and then completing the four-point play with the free throw. Taylor Schafer answered moments later with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 64-57 midway through the half.

MSUM wouldn’t go away and cut the SMSU lead to 69-67 with 6:24 remaining and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead at the six-minute mark, but Lee came down with a big defensive rebound following a missed jumper from Park.

Bruggeman would hit two free throws and was followed by a layup by Park, but Byers hit a pair of free throws to give SMSU a 73-69 lead with five minutes left.

MSUM trimmed the deficit to 73-72 with just over three minutes left and later had a chance to take the lead but a steal by Byers and a three-point play converted by Byers moments later pushed the margin to 78-74 with 2:19 left.

Followed a missed MSUM 3-pointer, Bruggeman drilled a 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining to push the lead to 81-74. After a timeout by the Dragons, Park banked in a 3-pointer to keep the game close at 81-77 with just over a minute remaining.

SMSU was able to hold on with clutch free throws in the final 42 seconds, making five of seven attempts to seal the victory.

This will be third straight season SMSU has advanced to play at the Sanford Pentagon. The Mustangs won the tournament title in 2017 and finished as runner-up last season.

Augie Recap

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Despite a five-game win streak and peaking into the playoffs, the Augustana men’s basketball team dropped their opening round game of the NSIC/Sanford health basketball tournament, 87-72, to Minnesota Crookston. Augustana is now 18-11, and Crookston moves to 17-15.

Augustana saw four players hit double-figures, led by Matt Cartwright and Dylan LeBrun with 15 points. Michael Schaefer contributed 13 points, and A.J. Plitzuweit finished with 10 points and team-high three assists. Tyler Riemersma chipped in nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Augustana shot 22-of-63 from the field, and once again did a good amount of damage from the free throw line. The Vikings entered Wednesday second in the league in free throw percentage and finished 20-23 (87 percent) from the charity stripe.

With the Vikings trailing by just six points at halftime, Crookston opened the second half on a 24-3 run, including 6-of-7 three-pointers. The Golden Eagles ended the night 18-of-26 (68 percent) from downtown.

Augustana, who started four freshmen for the majority of the season and has no seniors on their roster, will head into 2019-20 with every student-athlete returning to the team.

Matt Cartwright started the scoring on Wednesday with a triple from the right wing, and LeBrun came back with a bucket in the paint. With the Vikings leading 5-3, the visiting Golden Eagles used a 15-6 to take control early on.

The Vikings used back-to-back and-ones from Schaefer and Riemersma to tie the game at 26, but Minnesota Crookston continued to respond from downtown. Cartwright kept the Vikings close with straight away three, however, Augustana still trailed 35-28 at the 5:09 mark of the first half.

In the final minutes of the first, Schaefer worked his way to double-digits on a pair of free throws. Still trailing 42-36, LeBrun picked up a pair of turnovers and turned them into five quick points. By halftime, the Vikings trailed 42-36.

In the first 20 minutes, Minnesota Crookston shot 16-31 (52 percent) from the field, including 62 percent from downtown. Augustana did pull down 20 rebounds but shot 12-of-31 (38 percent) in the first half. Schaefer had 11 points, and Riemersma had 8 points and a team-high 6 rebounds.

In a game that featured multiple delays for the fire alarm going off, the ball didn’t bounce the way of the home team in the final frame. Crookston opened the second half on a 26-3 run, including 6-of-7 from downtown and opened up a 66-39 lead.

Following a bucket from Jameson Bryan and five straight from Matt Cartwright, the Viking had cut the deficit to 18 points but still needed another run.

Led by LeBrun and Cartwright, Augustana went on a 23-9 run to get the deficit to 12 points at 75-62, but with just 4:10 to play, Crookston second-half cushion was enough to carry them to the finish.

Harrison Cleary scored a game-high 22 points for the visitors.

Augustana, who was ranked ninth in the latest NCAA DII central region poll, will find out their postseason fate on Sunday, March 10, at 9:30 p.m in the NCAA selection show.

Categories: College Sports, Colleges – Augustana, Colleges – Northern State, Colleges – Southwest Minnesota State, Colleges – University of Sioux Falls, Sports, Sports Top Story