The team lost in the first round of the NSIC Tournament; NCAA tourney bid now in question
The first round of the NSIC men’s basketball tournament ended in disappointing fashion for the Minnesota State Mavericks as they fell to Bemidji State on their home court by a final score of 66-56 Wednesday night.
The first half started off with both teams trading baskets, as the Mavericks would take an early 6-5 lead.
Bemidji would respond by shooting lights out from beyond the arc, hitting four threes in the early minutes of the game. They would stretch out to a five-point lead before MSU came roaring back, tying things up at 24-24.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, that mark was the last time the Mavs would hold either a tie or the lead on the scoreboard, as Bemidji closed the half on a 15-2 run, and head into the locker room with a 39-26 advantage.
While the Mavericks held the advantage in steals and offensive rebounds, they were atrocious when it came to getting the ball through the net, as they went 10-for-30 shooting in the first half, along with a horrendous 3-of-15 from beyond the arc.
In the second half, the Mavs would come out firing, almost instantly bringing the deficit down to nine points.
However, the Beavers would respond almost instantly, as the two teams would begin trading baskets.
Junior guard Kevin Krieger, who spent the season averaging 14 points per game, wouldn’t score until scoring a three midway through the second half. That three, however, would spark a short 8-2 run that would draw the bring the Beavers’ lead to a 53-47 margin late in the second half.
The Mavericks would have plenty of opportunities following the run, but just couldn’t muster the offense necessary to complete the comeback. The Mavs went 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the final nine minutes of the game, and were 2-for-14 from deep in the entire second half.
With their NSIC Tournament hopes dashed, they will have to sit and wait as they find out whether or not they will be competing in the NCAA Division II Tournament. There are 64 teams in the tournament, with each of the eight regions sending eight teams. Out of the eight teams, three are conference champions while five are at-large bids.
In the latest Central Region rankings, Minnesota State was No. 7, ahead of Minnesota-Duluth and Augustana. MSU’s best hope is that they can stay ahead of Augustana, and hope that no bid thieves play their way into a conference title. However, with such a bad loss now on the resume, the clock may have struck midnight on the Mavericks and a trip to the dance.
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.