The Minnesota State Men’s Basketball team is off to a great start, with wins over Missouri Southern and Henderson State in the Central Region Challenge. The Mavericks also have a non-conference victory at St. Cloud State under their belt Wednesday. This weekend presents a new challenge, beginning with a late night matchup with Sonoma State.
MSU junior guard, Malik Willingham, was named NSIC South Division Player of the Week for his efforts at the Central Region Challenge. His 22 points, 6 assists and 7.5 rebounds on the weekend were enough to earn him this honor for the first time in his career. The last Maverick to receive this award was Quincy Anderson on Dec. 6, 2021.
The Mavs will continue their season on the road yet again, this time in Rohnert Park, Calif. in the Ron Logson Basketball Challenge. As they take on the Sonoma State Seawolves and the Stanislaus State Warriors, the Mavericks will be facing some relatively new competition.
The Seawolves started their season off to a less than ideal start, owning an 0-2 record. Led by second year head coach Rich Shayewitz, who has a 3-27 career record, the Seawolves have seen better days. The forward duo of senior Nick Klarman, and sophomore Jaylen Wells, are the team’s clear top picks. Klarman is in his fourth season with the team, averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists on the year. Wells has also tallied 14 points and 8 rebounds per game through two games.
The weaknesses of this team include an inability to consistently knock down the three point shot and taking care of the ball, shooting just 27.3% from downtown having 42 turnovers to 21 assists on the year. Friday’s 9 p.m. matchup will be the second time the Mavs and Seawolves have met, with the first coming back in 2012 where the Mavs prevailed, 75-68.
Saturday at 4 p.m., MSU will take on Stanislaus State for the first time in program history. The Warriors are 1-2 on the year, and face Western Oregon University a day before they suit up to play the Mavs. The backcourt of Kobe Ordonio and Marlon Short lead an offense that has put up just 62.67 points per game so far this year. The senior Ordonio is averaging 13 points and 3 rebounds per game, while also posting a 2:3 assist to turnover ratio. Short is a sophomore putting up 12 points on 50% shooting from the field, but has not yet gotten a three to fall.
Like the Seawolves, the Warriors are also struggling with efficiency from beyond the arc, with just a 23.4% three-point percentage up to this point. However, the Warriors are a scrappy team, and have 30 steals. The Warriors are coached by Paul Trevor, who is in his sixth year as the head coach, owning a 55-33 record.
Offense has been a strength for the Mavs early on, averaging 85.67 points per game, shooting over 50% from the field and nearly 40% from three. While facing the Seawolves and Warriors, who have a combined record of 1-4, it will be important for the Mavs to not play down to their competition.
With a 3-0 start, the Mavs are looking good and could very well be 5-0 heading back to the Taylor Center on Nov. 22. where they will take on Concordia St. Paul at 5:30 p.m.
Header Photo: Minnesota State Men’s Basketball team travels to Sonoma State to play on Friday, Nov. 18 looking for their fourth win in a row. (File Photo)
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@mnsu.edu