Northern State couldn't overcome a second-half hot shooting performance from Winona State, falling 83-74 to the Warriors inside Wachs Arena on Saturday.
In the second half, the Warriors (11-6, 7-5) got hot and shot better than 73% from the field, and connected on eight of their 12 three-point attempts. That was enough to push the Warriors past the Wolves.
"That's on us too, we (gave) a lot of open looks, and we can't play that way and win. We actually, I thought, found our bearings a little bit offensively in the second half, but that has to be combined with getting stops, or you're just running on a treadmill," NSU Head Coach Saul Phillips said.
At one point, the Wolves stormed back down 12 to tie the ballgame at 60 with just over five minutes to play in the second half, but that's when Winona State started to pull away.
The Warriors went on a 12-2 run to push their lead to 10 with just under three minutes to play in the game. They wouldn't look back from there en route to the win.
Winona State was led by Alec Rosner with 25 points and Connor Drew with 23 points, but Phillips said, it was guard Devin Whitelow who made the difference. Whitelow was held to eight points but dished out 10 assists to go along with five rebounds and two steals.
"He was getting penetration, they were getting us into rotations, we weren't quick to get out of them and they ended up with some flat-footed threes in the arc, which is exactly the opposite of what we're trying to allow," Phillips said. "... I wish we could have that one back,"
The Warriors connected on 13 of their 27 three-point attempts, including eight of 12 in the second half.
Sam Masten had 22 points for the Wolves to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Jacksen Moni had 21 points for Northern connecting on four of his nine three-point attempts. Jordan Belka had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Offensively, the Wolves were held to a 34% clip from the field but improved that in the second half, shooting 51%. The Wolves connected on seven of their 25 three-point attempts in the game.
"I thought everything was fairly low energy. I didn't think we reversed the ball enough. I thought for a while in the second half we started playing through the post where we had some serious size advantages, but it wasn't enough," Phillips said.
Northern scored 32 points in the paint, while the Warriors had 28 points inside.
Inside Wachs Arena was a lively atmosphere as part of I Hate Winter and official attendance was 3,463 – the highest of the season.
Northern men use hot-shooting offense to down No. 13 Upper Iowa
Northern State used a strong shooting performance to down No. 13 Upper Iowa University 90-81 on Friday night.
It was a hot-shooting performance for both teams – as they each recorded field goal percentages higher than 50%. The Wolves shot at a 54% clip, while the Peacocks shot at a 50% clip.
In the first half alone, the Wolves put up 52 points, connecting on 65% of their shots from the field. The Peacocks would hang tight with the Wolves and connected on 60% of their shots from the field.
Defensively, the Wolves were able to slow down Upper Iowa in the second half, limiting them to a 39% clip from the field, which was enough on Friday night.
For Northern, freshman forward Jacksen Moni posted 21 points to go along with three rebounds and a block. Junior guard Sam Masten had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Wolves. Jordan Belka had 18 points, while Cole Bergan had 16 for the Wolves off the bench.
Upper Iowa was led by Joe Smoldt with 21 points and five assists. Four other scores for Upper Iowa also reached double-digits.
Up next, Northern State will head to Minnesota to take on Concordia-St. Paul on Jan. 28, and Minnesota State on Jan. 29.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Northern State men's basketball split 'I Hate Winter' weekend games