SMSU MEN’S BASKETBALL: SMSU drops another tight game as UIU pulls away late

FAYETTE, Iowa – Upper Iowa pulled away in the final minutes of the game to earn a 63-55 victory over Southwest Minnesota State in NSIC men’s college basketball on Friday night inside Dorman Gymnasium.

SMSU falls to 7-18 overall, 4-15 NSIC, suffering its fourth loss in a row, including third straight that went down to the final minutes.

Kenny Byers paced the Mustangs with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jake Phipps and Andy Stafford each scored 11 points. Weston Baker Magrath also pulled down seven rebounds and had three blocked shots for the Mustangs, which finished the night shooting 46 percent (23 of 50) from the field, including 2 of 8 from 3-point range.

UIU (16-9, 13-6 NSIC) shot just 35 percent (19 of 55) from the field and made just 5 of 25 from 3-point range, but the Peacocks connected on 20 of 24 from the foul line to secure the victory.

The two teams were tied at 49 with 5:48 left in the game, but UIU would make five straight free throws to build a 54-49 lead with four minutes remaining.

Stafford cut the deficit to 54-51 with a field goal, but UIU’s Cade Moritz connected on one of the biggest 3-pointers of the game to push the lead to 57-51 with 2:27 remaining. Following two free throws by SMSU’s Cliff McCray, the Peacocks’ Josh Carter would answer with a field goal at the 1:24 mark to make the score 59-53. SMSU would later trim the UIU lead to 59-55 following a Byers layup with 44 seconds left, but the Peacocks made four free throws in the final 38 seconds to seal the victory.

SMSU scored the game’s first five points in the opening three-plus minutes, but despite UIU’s struggles to score, were able to take its first lead of the game at 13-12 at the 10:49 mark.

SMSU would tie the game twice later in the first half, including at 20-all following a Brian Dayman jumper with 5:50 left. The Peacocks would later build the lead to five points before taking a 31-27 halftime lead.

The Mustangs would battle and finally regain the lead on a Phipps layup at the 11:20 mark of the second half to make the score 43-42. The two clubs would battle for the next five minutes with neither team holding a lead of more than one point. Stafford would score a field goal with 6:16 left to give SMSU its last lead of the game at 47-46, but Moritz would hit the first of his two big 3-pointers of the game moments later to put the Peacocks back in front.

Southwest Minnesota State will play its final regular season road game today with a 5:30 p.m. match-up versus Winona State.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic



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