Men’s basketball heating up

The Minnesota State Mavericks men’s basketball team has extended their winning streak to four games in-a-row after picking up a set of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) wins this past weekend in Mankato. The Mavs picked up a narrow, five-point victory over Minnesota Duluth on Friday and thumped St. Cloud State by a double-digit margin for the second time this year
The Mavericks welcomed the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to Bresnan Arena on Friday. While Minnesota State picked up a victory that was within two possessions of being a different result, the Mavs only had one five-minute stretch the entire game in which they weren’t holding the lead or tied.

Minnesota State came out firing, as they quickly built an 8-0 lead on their way to a 10-2 run in the first seven minutes of action. UMD’s Luke Harris played a big role in not letting the game get away from the Bulldogs, as he scored all seven of the teams’ points in just over a minutes’ span to bring his team to a 10-7 deficit.

MNSU pounded away at the deficit but UMD refused to let go. With just under five minutes left in the first half of action, Harris hit a jumper to tie the game up and 30 seconds later Logan Rohrscheib drilled a three-pointer to give the Bulldogs their first lead. As time ticked away in the waning moments of the first half, the Mavericks couldn’t recapture the lead and UMD headed into the locker room holding onto a 25-22 lead.

As the second half got underway, Minnesota-Duluth’s lead proved to not be very stable as a pair of back-to-back unanswered lay ups from MNSU’s Joey Witthus regained the lead for the Mavericks. Five minutes into the half, UMD’s Kyle Schalow hit a layup that recaptured the lead for the Bulldogs but it was fleeting, as Witthus struck again and Minnesota State regained their lead and didn’t relinquish it in the remaining 14 minutes, picking up a 56-51 victory.

Minnesota State’s Witthus was the only Maverick to reach double-digit scoring with 18 points, Jon Fuqua added seven points and 12 rebounds and Cole Harper scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds.

Saturday saw the St. Cloud State Huskies come to Mankato for a rematch from earlier in the year. For the second time this season, the Mavericks easily handled the Huskies and picked up a victory in double-digit margins. St. Cloud took the lead to get the game going and the Huskies held on to that for the first three minutes and five seconds. At that time, Fuqua nailed a jumper to give the Mavericks the lead. The Mavericks would not trail for the rest of the game.

Fuqua was not only responsible for the lead, but also gave Minnesota State its first double-digit lead of the game at the 10-minute mark of the first half. Just over three minutes to go in the half, SCSU rallied with a 9-3 run that brought the game within one. Minnesota State responded with a 7-0 run of their own to head into halftime with a 41-35 lead.

St. Cloud State was able to bring the game back within four points with 18 minutes left to play, but the Mavericks went into blitzkrieg mode. With 10 minutes left to play, Minnesota State built a 20-point lead, led by Fuqua and Aarias Austin combining for 25-second half points. Austin also collected eight rebounds in the second half. Minnesota State finished with a 79-62 win.

The Mavericks’ Fuqua scored 25 points and had eight rebounds, Austin had 16 points and nine rebounds, Charlie Brown scored 11 points off the bench, and Witthus added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Minnesota State (17-7, 12-6 in the NSIC) hits the road again this weekend for a big set of rematches as they take on Upper Iowa on Friday in Fayette, Iowa and Winona State on Saturday in Winona.

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