Minnesota State Falls in Regional Final
The Minnesota State men's basketball team saw its
record-breaking season come to a close Tuesday night as it suffered
an 89-76 loss to the top-ranked and top-seeded Winona State
Warriors in the NCAA North Central Regional championship game.
The loss brought Minnesota State's record to 28-5 - a mark that set the school record for wins in a season.
Senior guard Paris Kyles finished the game with 22 points to lead the Mavericks. He connected on 10-of-20 attempts to go with a team-high three assists. Senior guard Luke Anderson finished with 18 while junior center Atila Santos added 16 points.
Both Kyles and Santos were honored on the All-Tournament team.
Anderson leaves Minnesota State as the school's all-time leading scorer, while Thomason finished as the only player in school history to record 1,000 career points and 400 assists.
After watching Minnesota State open a 26-19 advantage with 7:37 remaining in the opening half, Winona State rattled off a 5-0 run over the course of 80 seconds to cut the Maverick lead to 26-24.
Both teams would trade baskets before Winona State pushed its largest lead of the opening half at 36-32 with 1:54 remaining. Back-to-back three-point baskets by sophomore swingman Jake Morrow and Anderson pushed the Mavericks to a 38-36 lead. Santos would drop in a put-back to give the Mavericks a 40-38 advantage at the break.
The Mavericks were led in scoring in the first half by Kyles who finished the period with 14 points. Santos registered six rebounds and three blocks in the opening half of play. Minnesota State played the final 17:26 of the first half with out the services of senior guard Tony Thomason who left the game with two fouls.
Both teams would trade baskets to open the second half as neither squad could much of an advantage. The Warriors opened a 48-44 advantage with 15:17 remaining in the half before Thomason answered with a three-point basket from the right wing.
Winona State used a 7-0 run over a 4:28 span midway through the second half to push a 61-53 advantage, its largest of the contest. A pair of Santos free throws and a jumper layup-up from Thomason cut the deficit to 61-57 with 9:24 remaining.
The Warriors opened an 11 point lead at 72-61 with 5:41 remaining and never look back.
Santos finished with 14 rebounds, marking the sixth time this season - and the second in as many games - that he has finished with 10 or more rebounds. The 14 rebounds was tied his season-high and also gave him is team-high fourth double-double of the season. He also tallied a game-high four blocks.
Winona State finished the game shooting 51.6 percent from the floor, while limiting Minnesota State to 41.4 percent. The Warriors also won the battle of the boards, 44-11, as John Smith finished with a game-high 15.
The game was the final contest in a Maverick uniform for Anderson, Kyles, Thomason and guard Terrence Wynder.
Winona State's Zach Malvik led all scorers with 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting including 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Jonte Flowers added 16 points for the Warriors, while Smith contributed 15.
With the victory, Winona State (33-0) advances to next week's NCAA Elite Eight next week in Springfield, Mass.