Northern men complete weekend home series sweep

·4 min read

Northern State completed an NSIC weekend double-header sweep, downing the University of Sioux Falls 79-72 on Saturday night. The Wolves won a nail-biter against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday 69-68.

Northern used a 56-point second half to roll past the Cougars.

In the first half, the Wolves were one-for-11 from 3-point range. In the second half, the Wolves connected on two of their eight attempts, but it was still enough to secure a victory.

In the second half alone, the Wolves got to the line 38 times, connecting on 32 of their attempts. In total, the Wolves were 34-for-41 from the free-throw line.

It was the Sam Masten show once again on Saturday night inside Wachs Arena, scoring a game-high 29 points to go along with five rebounds and a steal. Northern had three other starters recording double-digits; Jacksen Moni had 16, Augustin Reede had 13 and Jordan Belka with 12.

The University of Sioux Falls was led by Jack Thompson had 21 points. Matt Cartwright had 16, while Chase Grinde had 15.

Here's what happened in Friday's night contest.

A game of runs, Northern led by Masten

The Northern State men's team trailed by as much as 18 points in the second half – but the Wolves would overcome that, completing a late-game comeback downing Southwest Minnesota State 69-68.

The Mustangs opened up the game with a 13-3 run, leading to a first-half lead that they would keep throughout. At one point in the first half, the Mustangs led by as much as 16 points with just under eight minutes to play.

Before the end of the half, the Wolves were able to cut the Mustang lead down to 33-25.

“We’re sitting there about eight minutes in and we’ve hit two threes and got six points. I did say to the guys ‘I think we’re generating decent shots, we got to settle down and knock them in,’" NSU Head Coach Saul Phillips said. “They did it eventually, but they waited to the last possible second to do it tonight.”

Southwest Minnesota State would continue to lead, by even as much as 18 points with just under nine minutes to play in the second half.

That’s when the Wolves became hot.

From there on, the Wolves went on a 27-8 run, led by Sam Masten’s 22 points in that span, connecting on four three-pointers.

“Sam (Masten) is a special player and a special kid and a great leader. He knew we needed a win tonight,” Phillips said.

Masten finished the game with 30 points, connecting on four of his eight three-point attempts. Masten’s season-high came against Black Hills State with 34 points.

Jordan Belka had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Wolves. With Andrew Bergan unavailable for the weekend games, Carter Lancaster came off the bench for the Wolves, scoring seven points.

Wolves clutch in Wachs Arena for second straight game

Northern State's Trey Longstreet goes up for a layup while Southwest Minnesota State's Kenny Byers goes for a block attempt.
Northern State's Trey Longstreet goes up for a layup while Southwest Minnesota State's Kenny Byers goes for a block attempt.

For the second straight home game, Northern State managed to secure a win within one possession. Last time out, the Wolves slid by MSU Moorhead in an 83-80 double-overtime win.

This time, the Wolves trailed through a majority of the game but claimed the lead three different times in the second half.

“We had a very thin margin of error, and (the) second time in a row we were able to pull it off,” NSU Head Coach Saul Phillips said.

Mustangs led by Phipps, Byers

Southwest Minnesota State was led by center Jake Phipps who had 24 points and six rebounds for the Mustangs.

Early in the first half, Phipps found success scoring eight of the Mustangs’ first 11 points. Six of those points came from inside the paint. The Wolves were able to clamp down on that.

“We didn’t do all that bad in the post on him, but we didn’t do a good enough job to getting that secondary rotation down to the baseline, that got us a few times,” Phillips said.

Southwest Minnesota State also got offensive production by senior guard Kenny Byers with 20 points. Byers shot 75% from the field.

“He’s just a special player and he’s been a special player in this league for a while and we had no answer for him,” Phillips said.

Up next, the Wolves will have another weekend home double-header against Upper Iowa and Winona State. On Jan. 15, the Wolves will tip at 7:30 p.m. against Upper Iowa. On Jan. 16, the Wolves will take on Winona State at 6 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Northern State mens basketball NSIC SMSU Winona State Upper Iowa

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