SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Free throws doom SMSU in overtime setback to USF

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The University of Sioux Falls rallied from a late second half deficit to force overtime and then pulled away in the extra frame to earn a 91-85 victory over Southwest Minnesota State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball on Saturday night. It was the conference opener for both teams.

Free throws proved to be the difference in the game as USF (5-1, 1-0 NSIC) connected on 20 of 24 for the game, including making a combined 18 of 21 in the second half and overtime.

SMSU (4-3, 0-1 NSIC), which held a seven-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, finished the game making 17 of 28 free throws, but made just 15 of 23 in the second half and overtime.

Ryan Bruggeman led the Mustangs with 28 points, six rebounds and four assists with zero turnovers. Carter Kirk and KJ Davis each scored 11 points, while Kirk grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

SMSU shot 41 percent (31 of 75) from the field with six 3-pointers on 18 attempts.

USF closed the game shooting 33 of 72 (46 percent) from the field and held a 50-38 rebound advantage.

SMSU maintained a 65-58 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the game, but the Mustangs missed five of nine free throws to close regulation as the Cougars rallied to tie the game at 75 with 13 seconds remaining.

SMSU had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but a 3-pointer by Taylor Schafer rimmed out and Turner Moen’s tip-in attempt missed as well.

SMSU missed four of its first five free throws in the extra frame as USF built an 80-76 lead with 3:30 left in overtime. The Mustangs would pull within 84-83 with 57 seconds remaining, but the Cougars sealed the victory making seven of eight free throws in the final minute.

SMSU built a pair of seven-point leads in the first half, but a 12-0 USF run late in the half gave the Cougars a 28-23 advantage with five minutes left in the half.

The Mustangs countered with six straight points, including a pair of field goals by Kenny Byers to regain the lead. Moen would score in the closing seconds of the half to give SMSU a 35-33 halftime lead.

SMSU would maintain a lead for much of the second half, including at 59-53 with 7:50 remaining following a 3-pointer by Bruggeman. A Bruggeman lay-up with 4:46 remaining pushed the margin to 65-58, before the Cougars put together the rally to close regulation.

Drew Guebert paced the Cougars with 36 points and 10 rebounds, while teammate Austin Slater scored 13 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Southwest Minnesota State returns home next Friday facing Upper Iowa University with tip-off slated for 6:05 p.m. The game will air live on regional television on Midco Sports Network.

Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic