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SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Scoring droughts doom SMSU in loss to Northern Michigan

DULUTH — Northern Michigan shot 47 percent from the field, made 11 3-pointers and used a big start to the second half, to record a 72-63 victory over Southwest Minnesota State in men’s college basketball on Saturday at Romano Gym.

The game was part of the two-day American Family Insurance Minnesota Duluth Classic. SMSU, which lost to Stonehill (Mass.) on Friday, is now 1-3 on the season, while NMU improves to 2-2 overall.

SMSU finished the game shooting 40 percent (25 of 62) with five 3-pointers in 18 attempts. Nick Dufault led the Mustangs with 15 points on 7 of 14 shooting, while Grant Kramer scored a career-high 14 points on 5 of 9 from the field with three 3-pointers.

Kenny Byers led the Mustangs in rebounding with nine, while also scoring eight points.

SMSU committed a season-low seven turnover and were outrebounded by just one, 34-33, but the Wildcats made 19 of 23 free throws, with SMSU making 8 of 14 from the foul stripe.

NMU connected on 55 percent shooting in the second half with six 3-pointers to pull away from a 30-30 halftime score.

The Mustangs led for more than 14 minutes in the opening half, including holding a 27-22 lead with 2:44 remaining following a jumper from Dufault. The Wildcats scored eight straight points to regain the lead before Kramer drilled a final-second 3-pointer to tie the game at 30.

NMU put together the game’s key run to open the second half, scoring the first 14 points before Dufault ended the drought with a 3-pointer with 15:50 left in the game.

SMSU wouldn’t go away and would later pull to within 56-51 with eight minutes left after a Dufault field goal. The Mustangs struggled after that and would go more than five minutes without a field goal as the Wildcats pushed the lead to 64-53 with just under three minutes left and never looked back.

Southwest Minnesota State will now return home for its first home games of the season next week. On Thursday, SMSU faces Mayville State, before taking on Minnesota Morris on Friday. Both games are set to begin at 7 p.m. inside the R/A Facility.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic

Communications

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