Friday, February 12, 2010

MSU men close in on conference title

The Minnesota State men's basketball team pulled away in the final 13 minutes to defeat Concordia-St. Paul 93-79 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball game Friday at St. Paul. The Mavericks play at second-place St. Cloud State at 6 p.m. Saturday, and a victory would clinch the conference championship and the right to host the Northern Sun tournament in early March.
Friday's game will be remembered for Jermain Davis' two monstrous dunks in the first seven minutes, and he finished with a season-high 22 points. It is also another reminder that the Mavericks are the deepest team in this league, breaking open a game that was tied at 58 with 13 minutes to play.
For the Mavericks to lose right  now, an opponent is going to need to play awfully well. Minnesota State had 10 different players in the game before the 14-minute mark, and when leading scorer Travis Nelson struggled with foul trouble, not scoring until there were just nine minutes to play in the second half, Davis, Jefferson Mason and Marcus Hill stepped up. Even Taylor Morrow had three impressive drives into traffic for key baskets, and Mitch Grundman logged quality minutes in the post.
The second-best team in this conference is St. Cloud State, and the Huskies are tough at home. St. Cloud State defeated Southwest Minnesota State 64-51 at Halenbeck Hall on Friday, and that place will be a zoo Saturday night. It should be an exceptional atmosphere, and it's the kind of pressure the Mavericks need to face to get ready for a serious postseason run.

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