SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Mustangs open NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament hosting Marauders
MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team (21-7), currently riding a season-high seven-game winning streak, opens first round play in the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament hosting the University of Mary (6-20) tonight with tip-off set for 7 p.m. at the R/A Facility.
•SMSU is the No. 1 seed from the South Division, while U-Mary is the No. 8 seed from the North Division.
•The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday to face either Augustana or Bemidji State at 5:30 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
•SMSU is 20-15 all-time in the NSIC tournament, with two championships (2012 & 2017), since the tournament began in 2000.
•The Mustangs are 9-2 at home, 1-7 on the road and 10-6 in neutral sites games.
•SMSU has advanced to the semifinals 10 times and have played in seven championship games (2001, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2017).
20-WIN SEASONS IN TEAM HISTORY
•SMSU secured its second straight 20-win season and sixth in team history last weekend.
•The last time SMSU won 20 or more games in back-to-back seasons came during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 campaigns.
•SMSU has a combined 49 victories the last two seasons which ties the 2000-01 (28) and 2001-02 (21) teams for the best two-year mark in team history.
•During it’s current seven-game winning streak, SMSU has committed 10 or less turnovers in six games.
•SMSU has made eight or more 3-pointers in 14 of its last 18 games.
•SMSU has committed nine or less turnovers in 11 games.
•SMSU tied a season-low with just two turnovers in the win versus Concordia-St. Paul last Saturday.
•SMSU tied a season-high with 14 3-pointers in the win over CSP last Saturday.
•SMSU is shooting 48.7 percent from the field this season which ranks tied for fifth highest in team history. Seven of the top nine shooting teams in team history have come under head coach Brad Bigler.
•Carter Kirk’s 828 career rebounds rank 11th among active players in Division II. He currently ranks second in SMSU history behind Frank Belmont (1971-75), who recorded 848.
•Ryan Bruggeman’s 456 career assists currently ranks 15th among all active Division II players.
•Turner Moen ranks fifth in team history with 133 steals. He recently moved past SMSU head coach Brad Bigler (131) for fifth all-time.
•Ryan Bruggeman’s 164 assists this season is the third highest single-season total in team history. His 5.9 assists per game is the highest single-season total in team history. Bruggeman finished with 166 assists last season. Marques Pena holds the record with 185 in 2000-01.
•Ryan Bruggeman has made 138 free throws this season and is just 10 away from tying Scott Koenen (2000-01) for the program single-season record for free throws made.
•SMSU has 11 home victories this season which is the first time since 2013-14 that SMSU has reached double figures in home wins.
•SMSU is 18-2 when opponents shoot less than 50 percent from the field.
•SMSU has shot 50 percent or higher in 10 games this season. Last season, SMSU shot 50 percent or higher in 15 games.
SERIES HISTORY VS. U-MARY
•Southwest Minnesota State and U-Mary meet for the 17th time on Wednesday night with SMSU leading 13-3.
•SMSU leads 8-1 all-time in games played in Marshall, with U-Mary’s lone victory coming on Dec. 11, 2015.
•SMSU won earlier this season, 83-61, on Feb. 3 in Marshall.
•This will be the second time the two teams have played in the NSIC Tournament with SMSU winning 82-65 in the first round of the 2014 tournament.
•SMSU head coach Brad Bigler is 7-3 all-time versus U-Mary.
•Carter Kirk scored 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds to pace SMSU over U-Mary on Feb. 3.
•SMSU shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, outscoring U-Mary 48-29, to pull away for the victory.
•Turner Moen and Ryan Bruggeman each scored 14 points to help the SMSU charge with Moen adding six rebounds, four steals and three assists.
•Trevor Zacher led the Marauders with a career-high 27 points on 8 of 11 shooting with four 3-pointers.
•U-Mary finished the regular season 6-20 overall and placed eighth in the NSIC North Division with a 4-18 NSIC record.
•U-Mary snapped a seven-game losing streak last Saturday night with an 80-70 home win versus Minnesota Crookston.
•Keith Hunter is averaging a team-high 13.4 ppg with 42 3-pointers. •Trevor Zacher is scoring 11.6 ppg and 4.7 rpg, while connecting on a team-high 46 3-pointers.
•Javian White is averaging 9.2 ppg with a team-high 104 assists.
•U-Mary is shooting 45 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point range, 74 percent from the free throw line and is minus-4.5 in rebound margin.
•U-Mary is scoring 70 points per game, while opponents are averaging 77 points per game.
•Head coach Joe Kittell is in his third season with a record of 37-49.
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