Saturday, December 11, 2010

St. Cloud State Holds Off Mavericks

St. Cloud, Minn. ---  St. Cloud State senior guard Taylor Witt hit a jumper with four seconds remaining to break an 83-83 tie and propel the Huskies to an 85-83 win over #21 Minnesota State Saturday afternoon in Halenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State University.

Minnesota State senior guard Marcus Hill – who poured in 22 points in the loss – saw his jumper from the left wing as time expired fall short, securing the Husky victory.

The Mavericks – who had trailed by 11 points with 7:20 remaining – used a 17-7 run over the course of five minutes and 15 seconds to tie the game at 78.  The run was sparked by seven straight points by senior guard Joe Drapcho and bookended with a runner by Hill in the paint to tie the score at 78.

Both teams would trade baskets or free throws  in the final two minutes – with Hill scoring all seven of MSU’s points in the waning moments, setting up Witt’s heroics.

“Got to give a lot of credit to the Huskies,” said head coach Matt Margenthaler.  “We struggled defensively tonight and it showed.”

The game – which played like most games between the two rivals, fast, physical and entertaining – opened with both teams getting up and down the court.  The difference in the first half however was St. Cloud State got the free throw lines nine times and converted all nine attempts en route to a 41-38 halftime edge.  The Mavericks – who shot 46.4 percent in the first half – connected on 7-of-11 free throw attempts in the opening frame.

Nine Mavericks saw action in the first half, seven of which scored.  Senior wing Jefferson Mason led the way for MSU in the first half with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting while redshirt freshman Connor O’Brien added eight points.  Both Mason and O’Brien hauled in eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes to lead the way for Minnesota State.

Hill finished the game with a 9-of-16 effort to go with four assists.  Mason – who also added 22 points – finished with a double-double as he hauled in 12 rebounds.  O’Brien added 14 points and narrowly missed his second straight double-double as he finished with nine rebounds.

Minnesota State finished the night shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 75.9 (22-of-29) from the free throw line.  St. Cloud State hit on 52.5 percent of its opportunities and was 18-of-20 from the free throw line (90 percent).

Witt led all scorers with 26 points.

Minnesota State (7-1, 3-1 NSIC) travels to Upper Iowa Friday evening for an 8 p.m., tip against the Peacocks.

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