SMSU Mustangs sweep USF Cougars at Stewart Center in NSIC doubleheader

Mustangs win both games on USF’s home floor
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 12:08 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The SMSU Mustangs won both ends of a doubleheader against USF at the Stewart Center Tuesday night. The women women 75-67 and the men won a thriller 70-69. Here are the 2 games recaps courtesy SMSU Athletics.

Women’s Recap

The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team (4-1 overall, 1-0 NSIC) battled back after trailing at halftime to defeat Sioux Falls (2-3, 0-1) 75-67 to open their conference slate on the road at the Stewart Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

After trailing 33-29 at the break, The Mustangs would outscore the Cougars 19-10 in the third quarter to jolt them to victory. SMSU would win the game at the free throw line and on the glass, outshooting USF 92.9 percent (26-of-28) to 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the line while outrebounding USF 42-29.

The Mustangs shot 43.4 percent from the field (23-of-53) and 20.0 percent on three-pointers (3-of-15), while the Cougars shot 38.2 percent from the field (26-of-68) and 11.1 percent (1-of-9) on three-pointers. Jenna Borchers led the offense with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists to help the Mustangs to victory, while making all 11 free throws. Meleah Reinhart would add 16 points and five rebounds while making all eight of her free throws. Sadie Stelter and Madison Gehloff would contribute six rebounds apiece to lead the Mustangs on the glass, while Abuk Akoi would score 12 points on six of eight shooting, adding five rebounds and a block.

Each team would come out of the gate slow, with each scoring six points in the first five minutes. SMSU would shoot 16 percent (1-of-6) while USF would shoot 25 percent (3-of-12) into the first media timeout. USF would start to find the bottom of the net, shooting 41.7 percent (5-of-12) in the final five minutes. The Mustangs would make all eight free throws in the quarter to trail 16-12 at the break despite 10 turnovers.

SMSU would heat up to open the second quarter, scoring on four of their first seven shots to creep back into the game and tie the score at 23-23 following a Stelter and-one. USF would score 10 of the net 12 points to take a 33-25 lead with just over two minutes to go in the first half, but SMSU would score the final four points to go into the locker room trailing 33-29.

The Mustangs would erupt to start the third quarter, scoring the first six points and going on a 19-7 run behind 10 Borchers points in the first seven minutes to take a 48-40 lead on 63.6 percent shooting (7-of-11). Sioux Falls would close out the quarter making three free throws to trail 48-43 heading into the fourth quarter. The defense would hold USF to 10 points on just 18.2 percent shooting (2-of-11) and tally three blocks while forcing six turnovers to get back into the game.

Offense would become popular in the fourth quarter, as the teams combined for 51 points on 55.6 percent shooting (15-for-27). Stelter would open the quarter with a three in the first ten seconds to create a fast pace that SMSU strives for. The Mustangs would make seven of their first nine shots in the quarter, and although USF would answer throughout, they wouldn’t narrow the gap to one possession until a 66-63 score with 45 seconds to go in the game. SMSU would go on a 9-1 run in the final 45 seconds, connecting on 90 percent of their free throws (9-of-10) to put the game away. USF was led in scoring by Megan Fannin who finished with 22 points on eight of 11 shooting.

The Mustangs will have nine days in-between games, with their next matchup at Wayne State on Thursday, Dec. 2. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Men’s Recap

The Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team rallied from a 15-point first half deficit, with Jake Phipps leading the way tying a career-high with 22 points, to earn a 70-69 victory over the University of Sioux Falls in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener for both teams inside the Stewart Center.

SMSU, which has now won four straight and improves to 4-1 overall, 1-0 NSIC, finished the game making 11 of 17 from 3-point range. USF, which earlier this season defeated No. 1 Northwest Missouri State, drops to 3-2 overall, 0-1 NSIC. It’s SMSU’s first four-game winning streak since November of 2018.

Phipps, named the NSIC South Division Player of the Week on Monday, made 8 of 12 field goals, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Kenny Byers added 16 points, eight rebounds and five rebounds, while Dunwa Omot chipped in with 13 points while making three 3-pointers.

The Mustangs finished the game shooting 46 percent (27 of 59) from the field and held a 33-32 rebound advantage. The Cougars closed the night shooting 40 percent (25 of 62), including 11 of 28 from 3-point range.

Matt Cartwright, a senior transfer from Augustana, led the Cougars with 19 points while making four 3-pointers.

The two teams played a tight opening eight minutes with SMSU holding a 14-13 advantage following the first career 3-pointer by Logan Benson. USF would answer back and score 11 straight points before Phipps stopped the run with a jumper midway through the half.

USF would continue to dominate and eventually extended the lead to 36-21 with six minutes remaining in the half.

SMSU answered back in a big way to stay in the game and eventually tied the game heading into the half time break behind outstanding 3-point shooting. Cliff McCray started the rally with a jumper before Omot drilled a 3-pointer and was followed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Phipps to cut the deficit to 36-32 at the four-minute mark. USF stopped the run with a field goal, but Byers and Phipps would drill 3-pointers in the final minute to tie the game at 36 at the break.

Phipps would give SMSU the lead early in the second half with a free throw before the Mustangs slowly built a 51-44 lead with 13:15 remaining after a Omot 3-pointer.

Anthony Costello would give SMSU a 10-point, 61-51 lead with just under eight minutes left in the game, but USF wouldn’t go away using an 11-2 run over a four-minute stretch to make the score 63-62 at the 3:30 mark following a Cartwright 3-pointer. Byers would hit a clutch field goal to give SMSU a three-point lead and following a pair of Cartwright free throws, Byers hit another field goal to stake SMSU to a 67-64 lead with 2:30 left in the game.

USF would later cut the lead to 68-67, but Phipps scored his final field goal of the game with 40 seconds left to build back a three-point cushion. USF countered with a field goal off a missed 3-pointer to pull back to within one-point with less than 30 seconds remaining. Byers was fouled with 16 seconds and moments later missed the front-end of a one-and-one, giving USF one last chance to win the game, but Jack Thompson’s shot in the final second missed and Grant Kramer secured the rebound and the victory.

Southwest Minnesota State will have its home opener on Monday, Nov. 29, stepping back into non-conference play with a 7 p.m. match-up versus Division III Minnesota Morris.

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