Last stretch for men’s basketball

The team looks to finish off their successful season with a series sweep this weekend

The Minnesota State men’s basketball team will conclude its successful regular season schedule on the road this weekend, as they face-off against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday and Sioux Falls on Saturday.

Friday’s game between Minnesota State and Southwest Minnesota State will mark their 58th meeting between them, with the Mavericks owning a 41-16 record against the Mustangs all-time. Earlier this season, MSU defeated SMSU 72-70 in a nail-biter at the Taylor Center.

Senior Chris Kendrix posted a team-leading 20 points against the Mustangs last game, while senior Charlie Brown had 19 points on the night. Junior Carlos Anderson added 14 points off the bench as well.

Ryan Bruggeman led all scorers on the night, with 21 points and six assists, while Carter Kirk had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, SMSU shot 42.9% from the field, to go along with a 9-of-9 showing from the line.

After Friday, Minnesota State and Sioux Falls will face-off on Saturday. This game will mark their 19th all-time meeting, with MSU holding a 16-2 advantage in the series. The Mavericks have won their last 13 games against the Cougars, including a 99-82 win at Taylor Center earlier this season.

Drew Guebert led the Cougar offense last game with 28 points and six rebounds, while Trevon Evans added 24 points and six assists. As a team, USF shot 54.2% from the field.

Minnesota State currently owns a 20-6 overall record on the season, including a 16-4 NSIC record. Last weekend, MSU defeated Upper Iowa 99-92 before falling to Winona State 90-78.

If the Mavericks win one of their two games this weekend, they will win at least a share of the NSIC South Division Championship. MSU will also claimed the south division’s No. 1 seed for the NSIC Tournament.

As a unit, Minnesota State is shooting 48.3% from the field this season, including a 43.4% performance from long range which ranks third in NCAA Division II. The Mavericks have also passed out 337 assists and have forced 304 turnovers.

Southwest Minnesota State enters the weekend the owner of a 19-7 record, including a 15-5 NSIC record. SMSU has won its last five games, including wins over Wayne State (75-60) and Augustana (81-77) at home last weekend.

As a team, Southwest Minnesota State is shooting 48.9% from the field and 40.3% from long range. The Ryan Bruggeman leads the Mustangs with an average of 16.4 points and 5.7 assist per game. Carter Kirk is averaging 14.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as well.

Brad Bigler is in his ninth season as head coach at Southwest Minnesota State. He owns a 155-108 overall record.

Sioux Falls enters the weekend with a 17-9 record, including a 12-8 conference. Last weekend, USF defeated Augustana 88-86 before falling to Wayne State 78-64.

The Cougars are averaging 79.3 points and 37.9 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 46.3% from the field. USF has also passed out 350 assists, but has committed 305 turnovers.

Trevon Evans is averaging 20.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game this season. Drew Guebert is posting 19.8 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game.

The Cougars are coach by Chris Johnson, who is in his 10th season at USF. He owns a 173-131 record at Sioux Falls.

We’ll look to see who the better teams are in the conference after this weekend. The Mavericks look to finish off a season that’s been one of their best in a long time.

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