MEN’S BASKETBALL: Peacocks shoot past SMSU

MARSHALL – Upper Iowa University prevented Southwest Minnesota State from extending its win streak to three as the Peacocks defeated the Mustangs 96-75 Saturday night in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division game.

Junior guard Grant Lang and senior guard Joey Woods led Upper Iowa with 17 and 16 points, respectively, while sophomore forward Jordan Hay chipped in 14 more and junior guard Bo Pagel finished with 12.

Woods also finished with a game-high seven assists while senior guard David Smith finished with six assists.

UI controlled the action from the opening tip as the 96 points are the most points the Mustangs have give up all season.

“It was one of those nights where shots were going in,” Upper Iowa head coach Brooks McKowen said. “We got shots at the rim and when we kicked it out, the guys were able to knock it down.”

The Peacocks shot 8 of 14 from behind the arc while the Mustangs were held to 4 of 12 from long range.

No Peacock was better at seizing the 3-point opportunity than freshman center Josh Weeber, who finished 3 of 4 from behind the arc with nine points.

“He’s a nice player,” McKowen said. “We play a lot of freshman and they have continued to grow as basketball players throughout the year. He really space the floor because he can shoot the ball. That doesn’t happen overnight. He’s worked his butt off his whole life to be able to shoot the ball like that.”

“Give his teammates credit too. He’s not standing out there open very often and we don’t find him.”

Senior forward William Giddings led the Mustangs in scoring with a career-high 21 points. SMSU was helped by senior guard Vinard Birch, who had 15 points, and redshirt freshman forward Joey Bartlett, who had 13 points.

Giddings and Bartlett also had strong rebounding games with eight and seven, respectively.

SMSU coach Brad Bigler was impressed with the play of the Blaine native.

“He came out with a lot more energy tonight,” Bigler said. “He was knocking down shots and getting in there and rebounding. He came ready to play.”

This performance was on the coattails of one of their best performances of the season the night before in a 73-71 victory over Winona State.

The loss also made Bigler more aware of the team’s energy level.

“Our conditioning level, at this point of the season isn’t where it needs to be in order to play back-to-back games,” Bigler said. “We’re going to need to do a little more. That’s something we need to change for next week.”

Time off will do the Mustangs some good as SMSU travels to Wayne State on Jan. 24. Wayne State is 8-8 overall and 5-7 in the NSIC South.

SMSU has struggled on the road this season, going 3-5 when playing away from R/A Facility.


UPPER IOWA (8-10 OVERALL, 6-6 NSIC SOUTH): Joey Woods 5-11 6-10 16, Jimmy Roth 2-4 3-4 7, Jace Hanna 1-1 1-2 4 , Grant Lang 6-10 3-4 17, Josh Weeber 3-6 0-0 9, Turner Wentzien 0-0 0-0 0, Bo Pagel 5-7 1-2 12, Luke Lenhart 3-5 0-0 12, Jordan Hay 5-8 4-6 14, David Smith 2-2 4-4 8, Kierre Ogbonna 1-5 0-0 2, Connor Schabel 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Mecca 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Soyer 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 26-54 (48%) 20-24 (83%) 78.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (11-7 OVERALL, 8-4 NSIC SOUTH): William Giddings 7-10 3-3 21, Vinard Birch 4-8 7-11 15 , Drew Osmundson 0-0 0-0 0, Mitch Weg 2-3 2-2 6, Shaun Condon 2-8 1-2 6, Travis Meinders 1-3 0-0 2, Joey Bartlett 5-12 2-3 7, Matt Zager 2-7 4-4 8, Cole Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Smith 2-5 0-1 3. TOTALS: 25-56 (45%) 19-26 (73%) 75.

HALFTIME: Upper Iowa 38, SMSU 30 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Upper Iowa 8-14 (Grant 2-3, Weeber 3-4, Pagel 1-2, Lenhart 2-3); SMSU 6-20 (Giddings 4-7, Bartlett 1-7, Condon 1-2). REBOUNDS: Upper Iowa 32 (Woods 5); SMSU 33 (Giddings 8). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Upper Iowa 21 (none); SMSU 21 (Birch, Bartlett). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Upper Iowa 16 (Woods 7); SMSU 8 (Condon 3). STEALS: Upper Iowa 13 (Roth 3, Lang 3, Hay 3); SMSU 6 (Birch 2, Condon 2). BLOCKED SHOTS: Upper Iowa 5 (Hay 2, Smith 2); SMSU 5 (Giddings 2, Smith 2). TURNOVERS: Upper Iowa 9; SMSU 18.