#4 Mavericks Claim NSIC Championship with Win over Golden Eagles – Minnesota State University

MANKATO, Minn. — #4 Minnesota State secured the NSIC regular season championship Friday evening in Taylor Center as the Mavericks bested Minnesota Crookston 82-62.

With the win, MSU improves to 25-2, including a 19-2 NSIC record. With the loss, UMC drops to 6-21, including a 3-18 conference record. MSU’s 25 wins matches its previous mark of the most regular season wins in a season set during the 2013-14 season.

This marks the fifth time that MSU has won the NSIC Championship since joining the NSIC back during the 2008-09 season. The Mavericks won the NSIC regular season crown during the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

The first half saw a total of seven lead changes as neither team led by more than six points through the first 20 minutes. By the midpoint of the half, a layup from Brady Williams put the Mavericks up by three at 18-15.

The Mavericks maintained their lead and eventually went up by six at 27-21 after a layup from Malik Willingham with 5:29 to go in the half. The Golden Eagles were able to get back within two of MSU at 29-27, but the Mavericks would go on to take a 35-31 lead into the locker room.

Kyreese Willingham led the Mavericks in the first half with 10 points, while Malik Willingham tallied nine points and three assists. As a team, MSU shot 41.7% from the field in the first half.

Reid Grant led all scorers in the first half with 14 points, while Blaize Sagna added 10 points. As a team, UMC shot 34.5% from the field in the opening stanza.

The first eight minutes of the second half saw the Mavericks outscore the Golden Eagles 24-9 to take a 59-40 lead. Four Mavericks scored at least five points during that stretch, including Dylan Peeters who tallied nine points. MSU would continue to add to its lead as it went up by 26 at 75-49 with 5:55 to go.

The Golden Eagles would chip away a little bit of MSU’s lead but the Mavericks would go on to close out the 20-point victory at 82-62.

Malik Willingham led all scorers with 21 points and nine assists, while Kyreese Willingham tallied 17 points. Peeters finished with 11 points also, while Justin Eagins recorded 10 points.

As a team, MSU shot 50.7% from the field, including a 19-of-31 (.613) showing in the second half. The Mavericks also hauled in 37 rebounds and passed out 20 assists, while forcing 18 turnovers.

Grant led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, while Sagna added 17 points.

As a team, UMC shot 34.5% from the field, including a 7-fo-18 (.389) showing from downtown.

Minnesota State concludes its regular season schedule on Saturday as it hosts Bemidji State. Tip-off is schedule of 5:30 p.m. at Taylor Center.




First appeared on msumavericks.com

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