SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Balanced scoring guides SMSU over Minot State

Photo by Sam Thiel SMSU’s Turner Moen tries to drive past a Minot State University defender during their game on Friday. The Mustangs defeated the Beavers 84-79.

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State’s Ryan Bruggeman poured in a team-high 26 points on 8 of 13 shooting, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line, to pace SMSU to an 84-79 victory over Minot State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball on Friday night at the R/A Facility.

Michael Lee tied a career-high with 17 points to help the Mustang offense, while Carter Kirk recorded his team-leading 11th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. KJ Davis rounded out SMSU’s double figure scoring with 12 points.

SMSU picked up its second straight win and moves to 16-7 overall, 12-5 NSIC.

MSU dropped its third straight game and falls to 17-6 overall, 11-6 NSIC. The Beavers were led by David Akibo’s career-high 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting. MSU’s Tyler Rudolph, who entered the game averaging 21.3 points per game in NSIC play, was held to a season-low eight points.

SMSU finished the game shooting 57 percent (30 of 53) from the field and made 10 of 20 from 3-point range. MSU was also solid from the field, making 31 of 57 field goals (54 percent), including make six 3-pointers in the second half.

SMSU used an early big run to build a double-digit lead in the opening five and a half minutes. With the game at tied 8, a 3-pointer by Taylor Schafer sparked a 10-0 run, which was capped by a Schafer 3-pointer to give SMSU an 18-8 lead with 14:30 left in the first half.

Lee connected on a 3-pointer to give SMSU a 31-20 lead, before Bruggeman scored on a layup to push the lead to 35-22, the largest of the half, with 7:21 remaining in the half.

MSU countered with a 9-0 run to trim the deficit to 35-31, before a jumper from Bruggeman at the 3:55 mark, ended the run and give SMSU a six-point cushion.

Davis drilled a 3-pointer, one of six SMSU hit in the first half, to push the lead to 42-33. MSU’s Nathaniel Moore answered with a field goal before Bruggeman closed the half with a layup with 15 seconds remaining to give the Mustangs a 44-35 halftime advantage.

Both teams shot well from the field in the opening half with SMSU connecting on 59 percent, while MSU shot 52 percent, but was just 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

SMSU maintained a double-digit lead for much of the first 13 minutes of the second, including building a 77-64 advantage with 4:44 Brremaining following a Bruggeman jumper.

MSU would continue to battle and used a 7-0 run to trim the SMSU lead to 77-71 with 2:39 left in the game. Bruggeman ended the run with two free throws, but a 3-pointer by MSU’s Russ Davis made the score 79-74 with two minutes remaining in the game.

Bruggeman would make two more free throws before Akibo converted a three-point play to make the score 81-77 at the 1:35 mark. After a missed SMSU 3-pointers, Akibo made two more free throws with 1:05 remaining to cut the lead to 81-79.

On the next SMSU possession, Bruggeman missed a jumper, but Kirk grabbed the offensive rebound and scored on the put-back to give SMSU an 83-79 lead.

MSU would commit a turnover and missed a 3-pointer on its final two possessions to seal the win for SMSU.

Southwest Minnesota State continues the weekend homestand on Saturday night facing the University of Mary for “Hawaiian Night” with tip-off slated for 7 p.m.

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