Just as soon as they reached the top of the Division II rankings, the Mavericks dropped their first game of the season Friday night.
The No. 1 ranked Mavericks traveled to Minot, N.D. to take on a familiar conference foe Friday, but the No. 21-ranked Minot State Beavers saw the target on the back of the Mavericks and gave it their best shot. The 81-71 loss tarnished an otherwise perfect season so far for the Mavericks.
The Beavers controlled most of the game but the Mavericks would not go away easily. The Mavericks cut the Beaver lead to five with just :59 left in the game, but the Beavers stepped up when it mattered most and secured the win. Head coach Matt Margenthaler seemed to be able to find a silver lining in his team’s first loss.
“We lost the game in the first 10 minutes,” Margenthaler said in a press release posted to the Maverick Athletics website. “I would say that even though we didn’t shoot the ball like we normally do, our kids played with heart and grit the entire 40 minutes.”
The lack of shooting Margenthaler refers to translated to a 38.9% field goal percentage (28-72) and a 23.8% three point percentage (5-21). Meanwhile, Minot shot nearly 40% from three and over 50% from the field.
In the loss, the Mavericks had four players score in double-figures. Kyreese Willingham led the way with 21 points, Justin Eagins scored 16 including four threes, Malik Willingham scored 14 points and Harrison Braudis added 11.
The next day, the Mavericks got back to their normally scheduled programming and took home their 17th win of the season against UMary, 87-71.
Good bounce back victory for us tonight,” Margenthaler said. “Our energy from the bench to the court was incredible.”
The Mavericks got out to an early 13-0 lead to begin the game and never looked back. They would lead by as much as 22 points during the first half, and the Marauders were unable to get within 10 points of the Mavericks for the rest of the night.
The Mavericks bounced back with a win, and their field goal percentage came back down to earth as well. As a unit, the Mavericks shot 55.2% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc. Malik Willingham led the team with 17 points, and Brady Williams contributed a Draymond Green-esque statline of nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists, showing his abilities all over the floor.
The Mavericks return home this weekend to host St. Cloud State before taking on another ranked opponent, No. 5 MSU Moorhead. Friday’s contest begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s begins at 5:30 p.m.
Header Photo: #1 Minnesota State suffered its first loss of the season Friday evening on the road as the Mavericks fell to #21 Minot State 81-71. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
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