The Minnesota State University men’s basketball team stayed perfect at home on the season this weekend, picking up wins against Wayne State and Augustana. Their wins this weekend have earned them a first-round bye in the NSIC Tournament.
Friday’s 79-63 triumph over the Wildcats gave the Mavs their 22nd win on the season, and their 11th home victory. The first half proved to be a tight contest as the Wildcats kept it close and the lead changed hands six times. WSC held an 11-7 lead at one point, but a 13-3 run by the Mavs gave them a 20-14 lead midway through the first quarter.
Neither team gained more than an eight-point lead through the first half. The score was 41-35 at the half, with Brady Williams leading all scorers with 13 points; Malcolm Jones hauled in seven rebounds.
The Mavs held onto a six-point lead for the first five minutes of the second half, but turned it on as they neared the halfway mark in the half, going on a 10-0 run to make the score 57-41 with just over 10 minutes to play. The Mavs held on, coasting to a 79-63 victory.
Williams led the team with 16 points and seven rebounds in the win, while Malik and Kyreese Willingham combined for 29 points.
“We knew it would be a hard one to grind out and that’s exactly what we did. We played hard, we stayed together, and we ended up taking the W,” said Williams.
The following day, the Mavs welcomed the Augustana Vikings to their home arena for a much closer game that resulted in an 89-81 win.
The Mavs jumped out to an early lead, but the Vikings responded with a 17-4 run that put them up 19-12 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
The Mavs responded with their own 16-7 run to retake a 28-26 with five minutes left,. Then Elijah Hazekamp took over, scoring 11 of the Mavs final 13 points to head into the locker room up 41-32.
Hazekamp’s 11 points led the team in the first half, contributing three three pointers toward the Mavs 6 of14 performance from downtown in the first half.
In the second half, the Mavs allowed a 9-1 run in the first two minutes to cut the lead to one at 42-41. After that, the Mavs went on a 23-9 run that seized momentum until the final two minutes when the Vikings trimmed the Maverick lead to 83-75.
The Mavericks held the lead while the teams played the free throw game. The final score was 89-81 as the Mavs logged their23rd win on the season.
Malik Willingham led the team in scoring with 24 points. Hazekamp ended with 19, Dylan Peeters added 16 and Kyreese Willingham finished with 15.
“We started off slow, shots weren’t falling in the beginning, but we had great looks,” said Malik Willingham. “They came in hot, playing energized and physical, but once the nerves went away we got back to ourselves.”
The Mavs now hit the road for a 6 p.m. Saturday game against Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.
Header Photo: The Mavericks secured a first-round bye in the NSIC Tournament. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org