SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Kirk ties school record, Mustangs upset No. 12 Northern State 64-57

Independent file photo SMSU’s Carter Kirk looks to score during their Nov. 2017 game against Northern State University. Kirk tied a school record with 21 rebounds in the Mustangs’ win over the Wolves on Saturday.

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Carter Kirk scored 19 points and tied a school record with 21 rebounds to lead Southwest Minnesota State to a 64-57 road victory over No. 12 Northern State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball on Saturday night at Wachs Arena.

SMSU, which snapped a two-game losing streak, improves to 15-7 overall, 11-5 NSIC. NSU suffered its first home loss of the season and drops to 21-3 overall, 14-2 NSIC.

The victory over a Top 25 opponent was SMSU’s first since beating No. 21 MSU Moorhead last season.

Kirk made 7 of 12 field goals and also had two blocked shots and two steals, while Ryan Bruggeman and Turner Moen each added 10 points to help the Mustangs.

Kirk’s 21 rebounds ties the record along with Frank Belmont versus Colorado Tech during the 1972-73 season and Sam Leggett versus Northern State on Nov. 28, 1975.

SMSU overcame a poor shooting night in the game’s first 30 minute and closed the game shooting 43 percent (23 of 53) from the field, including 52 percent in the second half. SMSU ended the game making 5 of 9 from 3-point range, which is its second lowest 3-point attempt total in a game this season.

NSU used a balanced scoring attack with three players pouring in 12 points. The Wolves finished the game shooting 35 percent (20 of 58), including 8 of 25 from 3-point range. The 35 percent shooting was the second lowest by an SMSU opponent this season.

The game featured 12 lead changes and was tied six times.

Trailing 8-5 in the opening five minutes, SMSU used three free throws from Nick Dufault and a 3-pointer by Moen to an 11-8 advantage with 13 minutes and 50 seconds remaining in the first half.

NSU would later regain the lead at 16-15, but an 8-0 run, which included two field goals by Moen and a three-point play by Kirk, gave SMSU its largest lead of the half at 21-15 with 6:30 on the clock.

NSU answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game, but Taylor Schafer connected on a 3-pointer to put SMSU back in front at 24-21. NSU scored four straight to take back the lead, but Bruggeman drilled a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs 27-25 advantage with two minutes left.

An Ian Smith 3-pointer with just under a minute left in the half gave the Wolves a 28-27 lead into the halftime break.

SMSU shot just 35 percent in the first half and were outrebounded 21-15. NSU shot 38 percent in the half, but made six 3-pointers.

SMSU quickly jumped out in the second half and built a 36-32 lead after a field goal by Kirk, but NSU came right back with nine straight points to take a 41-36 with 11 minutes left.

The Wolves would maintain the lead until 6:09 when KJ Davis connected on a jumper to put SMSU in front by a score of 46-45 and the Mustangs wouldn’t trail the rest of the game. Following an NSU turnover, Lee connected on a 3-pointer to build a four-point lead.

NSU would make three straight free throws, but again Davis had an answer with a jumper to make the score 51-48, and the lead never dropped below three points the rest of the night as SMSU made enough plays and free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Southwest Minnesota State returns from its four-game road trip next Friday, Feb. 2, hosting Minot State with tip-off set for 8 p.m. SMSU will face U-Mary on Saturday, Feb. 3, for the annual “Hawaiian Night” game.

Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic

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