Wayne State used 58 percent shooting and four players in double figures as the Wildcats led from start to finish in an 82-54 NSIC South Division men’s basketball win Friday evening at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, Minnesota. WSC now takes over first place in the NSIC South Division with an 8-3 division mark (8-5 overall) while SMSU falls to 2-6 and 0-4 in the division.
The ‘Cats used a lengthy scoring run early in the game to build a double digit advantage and never look back.
With WSC holding a 6-4 lead at the 15:28 mark, the Wildcats scored the next 13 points over a stretch of 4:13 to build a 19-4 advantage following two straight baskets from Alec Millender to end the scoring run.
Wayne State held a double figure lead the rest of the night.
WSC hit 14 of 27 shots in the first half while holding SMSU to just 26 percent shooting (7-26) as the Wildcats held a 35-20 lead at intermission.
The Wildcats never allowed a chance for SMSU to make a comeback in the second half as WSC scorched the nets on 19 of 30 shooting in the second half (63.3%) that included a stellar 7-10 performance behind the arc as 10 different Wildcats scored in the convincing 82-54 victory.
Junior forward Jordan Janssen paced a balanced Wildcat attack with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Millender also scored 15 points while Nate Mohr and Justin Eagins each produced 13 points.
Wayne State ended the night making 33 of 57 shots for 57.9 percent and connected on 11 of 18 3-pointers.
Jake Phipps had 11 points for Southwest Minnesota State while Cliff McCray and Sam Schwartz each accounted for 10 points.
The Mustangs shot 37.7 percent making 20 of 53 shots including 10 of 26 from 3-point range.
WSC held a sizeable 40-22 edge in rebounding over SMSU thanks to 10 boards by Janssen and nine by freshman Cody McCullough.
Millender had six assists with Janssen adding five while Ben Dentlinger matched a career-high with five blocked shots.
The two teams play again Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Marshall, Minnesota.
Wayne State broke open a close game by outscoring Southwest Minnesota State 32-19 in the third quarter as the Wildcats defeated the Mustangs 74-60 Friday evening in a Northern Sun Conference South Division women’s basketball game played in Rice Auditorium. WSC improves to 6-7 and 5-6 in the NSIC South Division while the Mustangs slip to 7-4 and 5-4 in the division.
Both teams struggled in the first quarter shooting the ball as SMSU held WSC to just 5 of 16 (31%) and the Mustangs held a 14-12 lead after 10 minutes.
The poor shooting continued in the second quarter that saw five lead changes and two ties. The Wildcats used an Erin Norling basket to end the half, capping a 4-12 second quarter shooting for the Wildcats, that gave WSC a 29-28 lead at halftime.
The game was still close midway through the third quarter when WSC went on a scoring blitz that put the game away.
WSC held a 42-40 lead at the 5:02 mark of the third quarter, then scored 13 points in just under two minutes to grab a commanding 55-40 lead. Halley Busse hit a 3-pointer, followed by a Norling basket. A Busse 3-pointer and a layup followed by a Norling trey capped the scoring run allowing WSC to take control of the game.
Wayne State finished the third quarter making 11 of 17 shots (64.7%) and grabbed a 61-47 lead.
SMSU got within eight several times in the fourth quarter but WSC also pushed the lead back to double figures and closed with a 74-60 win.
Busse scored a season-high 28 points to lead Wayne State, going 5-10 behind the arc and 9-17 overall in the game. Norling followed with 25 points on 9 of 14 shooting while sophomore Kassidy Pingel came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 3 for 4 at the line.
WSC ended the game making 24 of 56 shots for 42.9 percent and hit 7 for 24 from the 3-point line. The ‘Cats drained 19 of 25 free throws for 76 percent.
Jenna Borchers scored 14 points with Meleah Reinhart adding 13 for SMSU. The Mustangs shot 20 of 56 from the field for 35.7 percent including 9 of 24 behind the arc. SMSU was 11-15 at the line.
WSC forced 21 SMSU turnovers while having just 11, resulting in a 25-10 edge in points off turnovers.
SMSU won the rebounding battle 43-32 with 17 offensive rebounds. Norling hauled in nine boards for the ‘Cats while Kylie Hammer and Pingel each had six.
Busse handed out six assists with Hammer adding five.
WSC and SMSU conclude the two-game weekend series Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Rice Auditorium.