The team’s season comes to end after losing their first game of the NCAA tournament
Minnesota State men’s basketball team came to an end Saturday night after losing to the No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State, 62-91.
Northwest Missouri State is the top team in Division II, sitting pretty with an undefeated record of 33-0. The Bearcats were led by former MSU transfer, Joey Witthus, who had himself a game. Along with the win, Witthus put up 39 points and 7 rebounds. He also shot 12-of-21 from the field, 4-for-8 from 3 and was a perfect 11-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Alongside Witthus, the Bearcats had just four other players that contributed to the point total. It’s not often a team is able to win a game with no bench scoring, but Northwest Missouri State found a way. It also helps when they are getting 20, 16,10 and six points from their other four starters.
The Mavericks never held a lead at any point, nor did they ever tie the game in the loss Saturday night.
Minnesota State was led by Junior Cameron Kirksey, who put up 22 points on an efficient 7-for-15 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3. MSU didn’t get much scoring help beyond Kirksey, but freshman Quincy Anderson did have 14 points.
The Mavericks shot the ball 21-of-55 from the field, good for 38.2 percent. They didn’t shoot the ball well throughout the game, but they did at least have greater success from beyond the arc – 10-for-23. Where the Mavericks had the advantage over the Bearcats was their bench contributions with 27 points.
Despite putting up 35 points in the first half and 27 in the second, the team’s efficiency between the two halves were night-and-day. They were 44.4 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from 3-point range in the first half. Whereas they were just 32.1 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from downtown in the second.
Regardless, the team put themselves in a hole after falling to a 35-54 deficit at the half. The team will lose two seniors in Carlos Anderson and Karson Arrenholz. There are a lot of lowerclassman on the roster who will look to build off the 2018-19 year.
The 18-12 Mavericks will look to next season to correct things after having a down season compared to the 2017-18 year. The Mavericks squeaked by into the tournament, despite being upset by the 10-17 Bemidji State Beavers.
The Mavericks started the year off stronger than they ended. Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 11, the team was 10-2, before slipping as the regular season came winding down. Regardless of the events this season, Minnesota State will look to rebound during their 2019-20 season.
Header photo courtesy of msumavericks.com.