Minnesota State Men Win Conference Tournament Opener
(3/2/11) MANKATO -- The sixth-ranked Minnesota State men’s basketball team got a game-high 22 points from senior guard Cameron Hodges and a career-high 17 rebounds from senior guard Jefferson Mason en route to a 70-60 victory over Wayne State in the opening round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health men’s basketball tournament.
Mason’s 17 rebounds marks the most by a Maverick since Atila Santos hauled in 21 rebounds against Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 7, 2008.
“Survive and advance,” said head coach Matt Margenthaler. “That is the nature of postseason play. We have a lot to correct in a short time, but bottom line is we are still playing for one of our goals, the postseason tournament title in our league.”
Minnesota State opened the game fast as Hodges knocked down a pair of jumpers. The scoring continued as redshirt freshman Connor O’Brien knocked down a three from the top of the key, giving MSU a 7-0 lead and forcing a WSC timeout.
Following the timeout, WSC answered with a 7-0 run of its own before O’Brien broke the 7-7 by driving to the whole for a one-handed stuff.
Both teams used a 6-0 run to get to 13 before Wayne State’s Brad Starken drilled his third three-pointer of the half to give the Wildcats their first lead at 16-15 with 13:07 left in the first half.
The Wildcats would open a lead as large as 30-21 with 7:28 remaining before the Mavericks embarked on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 30 as four different Mavericks scored.
Both teams traded baskets down the stretch as the Hodges blocked a shot and took the outlet pass to the rim for a fierce one-handed dunk, giving the Mavericks a 36-33 halftime edge, closing out a 15-3 MSU run.
Hodges led all scorers in the first half with 13 points while Starken added 12 for Wayne State, all of which came from downtown.
The Mavericks shot 50 percent in the first half, while the Wildcats shot 48. Wayne State opened the half hitting six of its first eight three-point baskets but cooled off considerably, finishing the half 8-of-17 from downtown. MSU won the battle of the boards in the first half, 20-12, including 7-4 on the offensive end turning those seven extra possessions into 10 points.
After trading baskets to start the second half, Wayne State took its first lead of the period at 44-43 with 13:39 remaining as Jason Jensen hit the backend of a two-shot penalty.
The Wildcats would open a five-point lead at 48-46 before Hodges converted on a traditional three-point play to cut the lead to two.
Minnesota State then rattled off a 13-3 run thanks in part seven points from senior guard Joe Drapcho and four points from junior guard Stephen Kirschbaum to open a 61-51 lead with 4:28 remaining.
From that point on, the Mavericks maintained a multiple-position lead to close out the game.
Mason’s 14-point, 17-rebound effort marked his eighth double-double of the year and the 20th of his career.
Hodges 22 points came on 10 of 14 shooting while senior guard Marcus Hill added 13 for the Mavericks.
Minnesota State finished the night shooting 47.6 percent from the field while holding the Wildcats to 38.5 percent. The Mavericks dominated the battle of the boards, 40-24.