SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Winona State uses 3-point shot to down Mustangs

Photo by Sam Thiel SMSU’s Kenny Byers looks to drive past Winona State University’s Luke Martens during their game on Friday. The Mustangs fell to the Warriors 63-55.

MARSHALL — Winona State connected on 11 3-pointers and held Southwest Minnesota State to just three 3-pointers in earning a 63-55 victory in NSIC men’s basketball on Friday night inside the R/A Facility.

WSU has now won four straight games and eight of its last 10 to improve to 11-8 overall, 8-5 NSIC. SMSU dropped its second in a row and is now 6-13 overall, 3-10 NSIC.

WSU leading scorer Kevion Taylor was outstanding all game as he scored 27 points on 8 of 15 shooting with five 3-pointers and also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. WSU closed the game shooting just 38 percent (19 of 50) from the field, but made seven 3-pointers in the first half and four more in the second half, while committing just seven turnovers in the game.

SMSU closed the game shooting 45 percent (23 of 51) from the field, but made just 3 of 17 from 3-point range and were just 6 of 13 from the foul line. Kenny Byers led the Mustangs with 17 points and nine rebounds. Andy Stafford chipped in with 10 points off the bench and grabbed five rebounds, while Cliff McCray scored eight points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds.

The Mustangs started the game red-shot in scoring the first seven points and would hold an 18-9 lead with 10:14 remaining after McCray connected on a 3-pointer.

SMSU pushed the lead to 22-12 with eight minutes remaining after a McCray layup, but the Mustangs went scoreless for more than three minutes as the Warriors rallied to pull within 22-18 at the 5:13 mark.

SMSU would later lead 26-21 after a Weston Baker Magrath layup, but WSU rallied with a 7-1 run to take its first lead of the game at 28-27 with 1:46 left in the half. The Warriors made just 8 of 25 field goal attempts in the half, but made 7 of 11 from 3-point range to take a 29-28 halftime advantage.

The Mustangs shot 46 percent in the first half with Byers and McCray each scoring seven points. SMSU held a 16-2 scoring advantage in points in the paint in the opening half.

WSU extended the lead to 37-30 with 16 minutes on the clock, but SMSU would fight back and tie the game at 44 with 8:18 remaining after a Byers jumper. Brian Dayman scored his lone field goal with 7:32 left to tie the game at 46. SMSU had a chance moments later to regain the lead, but Dayman’s 3-pointer missed and WSU rallied with a pair of field goals to build a 50-46 lead.

Byers would later score with 3:30 remaining to cut the WSU lead to 51-50, but WSU’s Caleb Wagner hit his lone 3-pointer of the game with just over three minutes left to start an 8-2 run and seal the victory.

Southwest Minnesota State continues home action today facing Upper Iowa with game time set for 6 p.m.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic