The methodical play of the Luverne Cardinals was a pain in the side of the Marshall boys' basketball team in Luverne on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the Tigers strung together enough points to pick up their 10th consecutive win with a 60-41 victory.
"Luverne did a good job of playing very patient," Marshall head coach Travis Carroll said. "They did a good job of trying to slow the tempo of the game down."
The Tigers, ranked seventh in Class AAA, led 27-16 at the break, but conceded the final four points of the first half and allowed the Cardinals to take momentum with them into the second half.
"The final minutes of the first half was kind of disappointing because we didn't do a very good job of protecting the lead we had," Carroll said. "That kind of put us in a situation where Luverne came out in the second half and scored six points and we kind of had to to work our way back."
Helping the Tigers re-establish its grasp on the game were the combined efforts of Tanner Bukowski, Austin Saugstad and Hunter Peterson. The trio of Tiger seniors did a little bit of everything for Marshall during the game, while combining for 36 of Marshall's 60 total points.
Bukowski was the leading scorer for Marshall with 13 points, while Saugstad added a game-high seven rebounds to his 12 points. Peterson had 11 points in the game, to go along with his five assists and four steals.
Aaron Mathiowetz 2 2-2 6, Carl Douglas 3 1-1 7, Hunter Peterson 5 0-0 11, Connor Winkelman 2 0-0 6, Austin Saugstad 6 0-0 12, Riley Sharbono 2 0-0 5, Tanner Bukowski 5 2-2 13. Totals 25 5-5 60. 3-pointers 5 (Winkelman 2) Rebounds 26 (Saugstad 7) Assists 16 (Mathiowetz 5, Peterson 5) Steals 13 (Sharbono 4, Peterson 4, Mathiowetz 3, Saugstad 2) Blocks 0 Turnovers 9 Total Fouls 12.
Matt Arends 4 0-0 11, Matt Overgaard 1 0-0 3, Brett Heronimus 4 5-6 15, Josh Slieter 2 0-0 4, Blake Ziegler 1 0-0 2, Alex Weis 3 0-3 6. Totals 15 5-9 41. 3-pointers 6 (Arends 3) Rebounds 23 (Slieter 4) Assists 8 (Arends 4) Steals 3 (Heronimus 3) Blocks 0 Turnovers 22 Total Fouls 5.
Halftime Score: Marshall 27, Luverne 16
Aaron Mathiowetz had six points, five assists and three steals for the Tigers, who simply took care of the ball better than the Cardinals in picking up their fifth Southwest Conference win on the year.
"We won the battle of assists, and we won the battle of turnovers," Carroll said. "That was important for a game like this where the game was slowed down."
The Tigers (10-1 overall, 5-0 SWC) had 16 assists and nine turnovers, whereas Luverne shared the ball amongst themselves eight times and with Marshall 22 times.
Absent for most of the game tonight was Marshall's off-the-ball cuts. Moving without the basketball has been crucial to the Tigers' early season success, which has seen Marshall routinely crack the 70-point mark.
"It wasn't as good," Carroll said. "Tonight we could have done a better job of going to the basket without the basketball. To be honest, it could have been better tonight. The last seven minutes of the game it got better, but up to that point it wasn't quite where we wanted it."
Marshall stays in the conference for its next game, as the Tigers host Pipestone on Friday.