The Mavericks split their weekend road trip after defeating the Beavers Saturday
The Minnesota State men’s basketball team split their two-game road trip over the weekend, as they fell to Minnesota Crookston 77-72 Friday night, and then edged by the Bemidji State Beavers 77-66 Saturday.
MSU drops to 15-8 on the season, including an 11-6 NSIC record.
With the win, Minnesota Crookston improves to 14-12, including a 7-10 conference record. Minnesota State’s loss to the Golden Eagles ends its 24-game winning streak versus Crookston.
The first half saw the home team lead throughout the first 20 minutes.
Crookston managed to build an 11-point lead at 16-5 just six minutes into the half, but MSU would claw back into the game on an 11-2 run during the next three minutes to pull back within two at 18-16.
Junior guard Juwan McCloud accounted for six of MSU’s 11 points during that run.
MSU eventually tied the game at 32-32 after a layup from junior Cameron Kirksey with 1:39 to go in the half, but UMC’s Chase Knickerbocker connected on a three pointer as time expired to give the Golden Eagles a 35-32 lead heading into the locker room
The Mavericks managed to get back within two points of the Golden Eagles at 65-63 with 3:24 to go, but they would get no closer as Minnesota Crookston held on for the 77-72 win
McCloud led the Mavericks with 18 points, while junior guard Kevin Krieger tallied 17 points and eight rebounds.
Senior guard Carlos Anderson also contributed to the team, adding nine points and seven rebounds to the team’s efforts.
Saturday night delivered a much different result for the Mavericks when they faced Bemidji State.
The first half saw the Mavericks hold the lead for more than 18 minutes as they led by as many as 16 points. The Mavs pounced on the opposition early taking an 11-2 lead to open the game, but BSU answered with a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap to 11-9 with 14:45 to go in the half.
After being down by being down by as much as 11 in the first half, Bemidji State managed to get back within three points of the Mavericks at 25-22 with 5:46 to go in the half, but the Mavericks would end the half on a 14-4 run to carry a 39-26 lead into the locker room.
Senior guard Karson Arrenholz connected on a pair of three pointers in the final five minutes of the half.
Krieger led all scorers in the first half with 11 points, while Kirksey tallied nine points and three rebounds.
As a team, MSU connected on 42.9% of its shots from the field in the first half.
Kirksey and Krieger led the team in scoring, with a respectable 15 and 14 points, respectively. Kirksey leads all scorers on the team averaging 18.0 points per game in conference play.
Ja Morgan led the Beaver offense in the first half with seven points, while Logan Bader added six points and six rebounds of his own. As a unit, BSU shot a rough 29 percent from the field in the opening half.
With the win MSU improved to an impressive 16-8, with a 12-6 in conference record. Bemidji State with the loss dropped to 8-14, and an 5-13 NSIC record. This win moved the Mavericks to 10-2 on the road, as they are just a .500 team, being 6-6 at home.
The Mavericks only have four more games remaining before the conference tournament.
MSU will play Augustana Friday night and Wayne State Saturday to cap off their season at the Taylor Center. The Mavericks will look to finish the season above .500 at home.
The game against Wayne State is sure to have a little more implication as Mavericks sit right behind Wayne State in the standings just based on overall record in the NSIC south division.
Feature photo: Kevin Krieger (25) of Minnesota State attempts a layup during an NCAA Division II basketball game against Northern State Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Taylor Center in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter)