Saturday, February 26, 2011

MSU men win another conference title

The Minnesota State men's basketball team escaped with a 61-60 victory over Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday at Marshall, earning the program's second consecutive Northern Sun regular-season championship.
The Mavericks led by 14 points with seven minutes to play, but it took a pair of free throws by Marcus Hill with five seconds remaining to secure the win. Southwest had a last possession but couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.
Minnesota State is now the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament and will host Wayne State in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The semifinals and finals will be played Saturday and Sunday at Concordia-St. Paul.
Saturday's win was interesting in many ways. Cameron Hodges scored 13 points in the first half, when the Mavericks led by 18 at one point and 32-24 at halftime. Jefferson Mason scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, and Hill had all of his nine points after halftime.
Southwest had a 50-34 rebounding advantage with 25 offensive rebounds. But those produced only 11 second-chance points as Southwest shot only 29 percent from the field.
The hold on the Central Region rankings seems safe for the No. 1-rated Mavericks, though No. 2 Colorado School of Mines and No. 3 Mary also won. The final region rankings will be released after conference tournaments next Sunday.

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