Minnesota State will now face Sioux Falls in the second round on the road
The Minnesota State Mavericks defeated the Bemidji State Beavers at home by a score of 71-61 Wednesday night.
The Mavericks entered the NSIC Tournament as the fifth seed in the southern region of the tournament with a record 14-14 and a conference record of 12-10. As for the Beavers, they entered play as the fourth seed in the northern region with a record of 14-12 and a conference record of 11-11.
The Mavericks climbed out to an early lead of 9-0 after freshman Ryland Holt gave the Mavericks nine with a two-point shot. Minnesota State then climbed out to their largest lead of the game at the 8:18 minute mark, 23-9.
By halftime, the Beavers were able to bring the game within eight, 30-22. MSU never trailed at any part of the first half, mainly because they were able to shoot the ball efficiently. The Mavericks shot 50% from the field and limited the Beavers to shooting 26.9%.
The Mavericks didn’t rely on the 3-point shot like BSU did, as MSU shot 2-for-5, compared to the Beavers 4-of-12.
Holt led the way in the first half with eight points and collected six rebounds. Senior Cameron Kirksey was the next Maverick in line with seven points and six rebounds.
By the first media timeout of the second half, the Mavericks still led things 33-30.
Sophomore Kelby Kramer converted the dunk while being fouled at the 13:04 minute mark that put the Mavericks up 37-30 but was unable to convert on the free throw. The Beavers cut the Mavericks lead to one at the 6:19 minute mark, leaving the score 48-47, resulting in a Mavericks timeout.
Senior Kevin Krieger’s 3-pointer at the 4:55 mark boosted the Mavericks lead to five. Out of the media timeout, BSU answered with a 3-pointer of their own, but it was Krieger once again who knocked down another triple.
Krieger was a huge part in the Mavericks success late in the game, as he was the main beneficiary on offense, scoring play-after-play. He scored 13 of the team’s final 23 points. He finished the game with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.
When asked about Krieger’s performance out of the timeout, head coach Matt Margenthaler said they relied heavily on his experience with late game situations. Margenthaler said, “We absolutely rode with him and he did what seniors are supposed to do. He put us on our back and made some big time plays down the stretch and obviously, that’s what big time players do.”
Holt finished second on the team in scoring with 15 points and collected six rebounds along the way.
The Mavericks continued their dominance shooting efficiently, going 51.2% from the field, compared to the Beavers 35.2%. BSU wasn’t able to convert on its 3-pointers, going 7-for-27, but the Mavericks defense played a part in that.
The Mavericks will next play the Sioux Falls Cougars on Feb. 29 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Header photo: Minnesota State forward Cameron Kirksey (21) drives to the basket during a game against Bemidji State University at the Taylor Center Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)