Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wow! What a game. On to the championship game.

As Minnesota State coach Matt Margenthaler said after Sunday's 69-65 victory over Metro State, "Wow."

The hard-fought semifinal victory in the NCAA Division II Central Region men's basketball tournament had something for everybody. It was a tough-guy game, there were some unbelievably athletic plays, the game was close throughout.

There was the agony of two missed free throws by Metro superstar Reggie Evans, followed by the joy of two clinching free throws by Jefferson Mason.

If you didn't enjoy this one, you have no heart or emotion.

The Mavericks looked tired early, then got a spark from Taylor Morrow and Stephen Kirschbaum in the second half. Then with the game on the line, Mason started attacking the basket and Metro's shot blockers to provide 16 second-half points.

The Mavericks had the rebounding advantage, which hasn't happened much in the last month, and 23 offensive rebounds, usually the other team's number.

Now it's on to the championship game against Fort Lewis, a team that Minnesota State has had success in the past. This is the best Fort Lewis team of the last five or six, but it's a favorable matchup for Minnesota State.

Marcus Hill has played 80 minutes in the last two games, and Margenthaler said he'll play 40 on Tuesday. Mason has played 76 minutes and Cameron Hodges 63. Expect each to log a lot of minutes in every game from here on out.

Minnesota State has only playe din one regional championship game, losing to Winona State in 2006. This team is much better prepared to win that elusive title.

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