Mustang men get bounce-back win over Upper Iowa

The Southwest Minnesota State men’s basketball team showed tremendous resolve against Upper Iowa on Saturday in Fayette, Iowa.

Less than 24 hours removed from a stinging overtime defeat by Winona State, the Mustangs were back on the court and used a game-high 23 points from Jordan Miller to defeat the Peacocks 74-69.

Miller made seven of his eight free throw attempts and eight field goals to reach 23 points, while also leading the Mustangs with nine of their 30 rebounds and three of their eight assists.

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win for SMSU snapped a three-game winning streak for Upper Iowa. The Mustangs (7-7 overall, 4-3 NSIC) led 36-32 and stretched their lead to 13 points three different times after the break.

Upper Iowa (9-4, 5-2) cut the lead to three after a 10-0 run and a Bo Pagel 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 3 seconds to play.

Tramel Barnes, who was a perfect 8-for-8 from the stripe, ended the run with a pair of free throws before another Peacock field goal saw the Mustangs leading 67-64 with 2:18 left in the game.

Miller knocked down a jumper on SMSU’s next possession, before teaming up with Barnes to make five of six free throws down the stretch.

SMSU committed just 10 turnovers to pick up their second NSIC road win of the season, while Jake Hughes led Upper Iowa with 13 points. The Mustangs were 20 of 24 from the line as a team, making up for their 2-for-10 3-point shooting night.

Nick Smith scored 14 points for the Mustangs and was the only other SMSU player besides Miller to break into double digits.

SMSU will be back in its home gym Friday and Saturday, as the Mustangs host St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth respectively.