SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: Mustangs head to UIU and WSU for final regular season road games

Independent file photo SMSU’s Grant Kramer looks to score during their game against Northern State University on Saturday. The Mustangs will face Upper Iowa and Winona State this weekend.

MARSHALL — The Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team (7-17, 4-14 NSIC) will look to snap a three-game losing streak when it heads to the road for one final time during the regular season with a pair of games versus NSIC South Division opponents.

•SMSU will take on Upper Iowa University (15-9, 12-6 NSIC) on Friday, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. inside Dorman Gym in Fayette, Iowa.

•SMSU closes the weekend on Saturday, with a 5:30 p.m. match-up at Winona State University (14-10, 11-7 NSIC) at McCown Gym in Winona.

•SMSU begins the weekend in eighth place in the NSIC South standings, while UIU is second and WSU is in third place in the division standings.

•SMSU lost to both Upper Iowa and Winona State three weeks ago in Marshall.

•The Mustangs will close the regular season at home on Feb. 21-22, before playing on the road for the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament on Feb. 26.

Broadcast info

•Both games will be broadcast on 105.1 FM KARL with Ryan Rohlik providing play-by-play.

•Live stats, radio broadcast and video can be found at SMSUmustangs.com.

Mustang tip-off tidbits

•SMSU finished 3-5 versus NSIC North Division teams this season and are now a combined 40-24 versus North teams in conference play since divisions were introduced prior to the 2012-13 season.

•SMSU opponents have made the same or made more 3-point field goals than SMSU in nine straight games. The last time SMSU made more 3-pointers than their opponent came on Jan. 10 versus Concordia-St. Paul.

•The Mustangs lost a pair of hard-fought home games last weekend versus NSIC North Division opponents. SMSU lost to MSU Moorhead last Friday, 67-52, before losing to Northern State on Saturday, 74-66.

•SMSU led MSU Moorhead 49-47 with just over nine minutes left in the game, but MSUM rallied to close the game on a 20-3 run. The Mustangs committed 16 turnovers–its second highest total of the season–in the game.

•Grant Kramer scored led the Mustangs with 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting with three 3-pointers in the loss to MSUM.

•In the loss to NSU, the game was tied at 63 with 3:15 left in the game, but NSU pulled away late to earn the win.

•Jake Phipps scored 16 points and pulled down six rebounds in the setback, while Andy Stafford added 13 points.

•SMSU’s current seven-game home losing streak is its longest since losing 14 straight between the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons.

•SMSU attempted a season-low 45 field goals and made a season-low two free throws in the loss to MSU Moorhead last Friday.

•SMSU made a season-high 19 free throws versus Northern State on Saturday.

•Junior Kenny Byers leads the team in scoring (17.3), rebounding (7.2), assists (73), steals (37) and has recorded a team-high seven double-doubles.

•Junior Nick Dufault, who missed two games in early January with an injury, has connected on a team-high 52 3-pointers and is second on the squad in scoring (12.7). He ranks fifth in team history in 3-point field goal pct. (41.9) and 12th in program history with 145 3-point field goals made. He needs 17 more 3-pointers to move into ninth all-time.

•Freshman Cliff McCray ranks third on the team in scoring (8.5) and second with 42 assists.

•Junior Weston Baker Magrath has a team-high 46 blocked shots ranking fifth in team single-season history. The record is 55 set by Mark Ornatek in 1979-80.

•SMSU has outrebounded its opponents nine times through 24 games this season and ranks 10th in the NSIC in rebounding margin (-0.1). Last season, SMSU finished last in the NSIC in rebound margin (minus-8.5).

•For the season, SMSU is shooting 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range, 66 percent from the free throw line and is minus-0.1 in rebound margin. SMSU is averaging 66 points per game, while opponents are averaging 70 points per game.

Series history

vs. Upper Iowa

•SMSU and Upper Iowa meet for the 31st time with SMSU leading 21-9 in a match-up that started in 1979-80.

•UIU won earlier this season on Jan. 25 in Marshall with a come-from-behind 80-77 victory.

•SMSU leads 8-4 in games played in Fayette, including winning last season, 91-87.

•UIU’s win on Jan. 25 snapped a five-game SMSU winning streak in the series. Prior to the streak, UIU had won six of the previous seven games.

•SMSU head coach Brad Bigler is 13-8 all-time versus UIU.

Series history

vs. Winona State

•SMSU and Winona State meet for the 111th time with WSU leading 71-39 in a series that started in 1968-69.

•WSU holds a 28-8 advantage since 2004-05, but the series is tied 6-6 in the last 12 meetings. WSU has won three of the last four games.

•WSU earned a 66-53 victory earlier this season on Jan. 24 in Marshall.

•WSU hold a 41-11 advantage in games played in Winona, winning the past two meetings, including last season, 85-67.

•SMSU head coach Brad Bigler is 8-14 all-time versus WSU.

Scouting Upper Iowa

•Upper Iowa is 15-9 overall, 12-6 NSIC, following a road split last weekend, losing to UMary (85-71), before defeating Minot State (94-71).

•Junior forward Jareese Williams is averaging 13.8 ppg and leads the team with 75 3-pointers.

•Senior guard Joe Smoldt is scoring 12.4 ppg with 48 3-pointers.

•Jake Hilmer had dished out 115 assists and is averaging 12.5 ppg.

•UIU is shooting 46 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range, 72 percent from the free throw line and is minus-4.8 in rebound margin. UIU ranks 15th in the NSIC in rebounding margin through 18 league games.

•UIU is averaging 82 points per game, while opponents average 81 points per game.

•Head coach Brooks McKowen is in his seventh season at UIU with a record of 110-91. He led the Peacocks to the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

•McKowen was an assistant coach at SMSU from 2011-13.

Scouting Winona State

•Winona State is 14-10 overall, 11-7 NSIC, and is coming off two road victories over Minot State (73-68) and UMary (86-83). WSU will host Sioux Falls on Friday night.

•Junior guard Kevion Taylor is scoring 20.0 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (7.6), while connecting on a team-high 89 3-pointers.

•Senior guard Caleb Wagner is averaging 20.4 ppg with 54 3-pointers.

•Junior forward Andrea Lo Biondo is scoring 9.1 ppg and averaging 6.4 rpg.

•WSU is shooting 44 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range, 75 percent from the free throw line and is minus-3.7 in rebound margin.

•WSU is averaging 77 points per game, while opponents average 74 points per game.

•Head coach Todd Eisner is in his fifth season with a record of 74-66. He recorded 417 career victories as a head coach at Midland (Neb.), Benedictine (Kan.), Bellevue (Neb.) and Viterbo (Wis.).

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic



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