MEN’S BASKETBALL: SMSU topples Wayne State

MARSHALL – Nick Smith had 22 points and a solid defensive effort as Southwest Minnesota State posted an 80-61 victory over Wayne State College in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game Saturday.

The win gave the Mustangs (4-4, 2-1 NSIC) back-to-back wins for the first time this season and gets SMSU back to a .500 overall record.

“It was nice to see our guys on a second night in an NSIC game come out with two wins in a row,” Southwest Minnesota State head coach Brad Bigler said. “It was nice to play at home with our crowd. I think that gave our guys a little bounce to their step.”

Smith’s 22 points was the first 20-plus point performance by a Mustang this season – and the sixth of his career. He finished 8 of 12 from the floor, 6 of 7 from the free-throw line, grabbed six boards, blocked three shots and recorded two steals.

“All night long (Wayne State) went 1-on-1 with Nick in the post and we recognized that early in the game,” Bigler said. “If that is the case, we want to give Nick the opportunity to get going and, fortunately for us, he played with a lot of confidence. His jump hook was going in and he was also rebounding the basketball. When he is rebounding and hitting shots over guys, Nick is a tough matchup.”

SMSU committed a season-low seven turnovers while allowing a season-low 61 points.

The Mustangs jumped out of the gates with a 6-0 run to force an early timeout by the Wildcats, but a couple of turnovers allowed Wayne State to storm back to take a 10-7 lead.

With the scoreboard reading 23-22 in favor of the Wildcats with 6:32 remaining in the first half, SMSU went on an 18-8 run to close out the half and take a nine-point lead at the break. Jamie Pearson banked in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to put Wayne State within single digits at intermission.

In the second half, a 10-3 run by the Mustangs extended their lead to 26 points (72-46) on a free throw from Smith with 6:29 remaining.

SMSU finished shooting 21 of 43 from the floor, including 5 of 11 from behind the 3-point line. The Mustangs made 33 of 39 free throws, both season highs.

“Going into the game, it was about making a simple pass. We wanted to keep it easy, keep it simple and let great plays develop. Sometimes, with high turnovers, we’re trying to make the highlight plays rather than the easy one. It was about being able to execute.”

Matt Zager finished with 11 points, while Vinard Birch, Mitch Weg and Shaun Condon all finished with nine points each for SMSU.

The Mustangs outrebounded Wayne State 30-18, including 11-6 at the offensive end.

“Holding Wayne State to 61 points is due to our rebounding,” Bigler said. “We have a lot of guys going to the ball and mixing it up, going to get those defensive rebounds. Our opponents are one-and-done, then we are going the other direction.”

SMSU hits the road to play Winona State on Friday and Upper Iowa on Saturday.



At R/A Facility

WAYNE STATE (3-4 OVERALL, 0-3 NSIC): Ben Galemmo 1-1 0-0 3, Gary Ross 0-3 0-0 0, Jamie Pearson 2-4 2-2 7, Ty Bauschek 4-7 2-2 12, Joel Heesch 0-0 2-2 2, Kenny Finco 0-1 0-0 0, Adol Aluong 2-6 5-7 9, Damjan Sredanovic 2-4 0-0 5, Jared Bartling 1-1 6-8 8, Ryan Rolfzen 4-8 0-0 10, Patrick Kurth 0-1 0-0 0, David Andersen 2-4 1-2 5. TOTALS: 18-40 (45%) 18-23 (78%) 61.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (4-4 OVERALL, 2-1 NSIC): William Giddings 1-3 5-5 7, Vinard Birch 2-4 5-5 9, Drew Osmundson 0-1 5-6 5, Mitch Weg 2-2 5-6 9, Shaun Condon 2-4 4-4 9, Joey Bartlett 2-8 2-4 8, Matt Zager 4-7 1-2 11, David Condon 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Smith 8-12 6-7 22. TOTALS: 21-42 (50%) 33-39 (85%) 80.

HALFTIME: Southwest Minnesota State 40, Wayne State 31. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Wayne State 7-19 (Bauschek 2-5, Rolfzen 2-5, Galemmo 1-1, Pearson 1-1, Sredanovic 1-2, Aluong 0-1, Finso 0-1, Ross 0-3); Southwest Minnesota State 5-10 (Zager 2-3, Bartlett 2-5, S. Condon 1-2). REBOUNDS: Wayne State 18 (Andersen 4); Southwest Minnesota State 30 (Smith 6, Weg 6, TEAM 6, Giddings 4, Bartlett 4). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Wayne State 23 (none); Southwest Minnesota State 15 (none). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Wayne State 9 (Bauschek 4); Southwest Minnesota State 7 (Giddings 2, Zager 2). STEALS: Wayne State 6 (Ross 2, Bauschek 2); Southwest Minnesota State 10 (Zager 2, Smith 2, S. Condon 2). BLOCKED SHOTS: Wayne State 4 (Bartling 1, Andersen 1, Finco 1, Kurth 1); Southwest Minnesota State 2 (Smith 3). TURNOVERS: Wayne State 13; Southwest Minnesota State 7.