The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 11, 2013

MSU men down Northern 83-76

MANKATO — The Minnesota State men’s basketball team didn’t have a very good halfcourt offense in the second half of Friday’s game against Northern State.

But it did have sophomore point guard Zach Monaghan.

“He’s very confident with the ball,” Minnesota State coach Matt Margenthaler said. “I thought early on, he was settling for jump shots, but he started to attack. He’s a very athletic guard, and he did a good job of not forcing things.”

Monaghan had 16 points in the final 3:35 to keep Minnesota State in front of the Wolves for an 83-76 victory in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game at Bresnan Arena. It was a fairly nondescript game for Monaghan … until crunch time.

“I saw an opportunity,” Monaghan said. “Coach told me all week that I needed to be more aggressive, but I didn’t want to force it. I was able to make a lot of easy free throws at the end so the box score looks a little deceiving.”

The Mavericks had a lifeless start, trailing for most of the first 10 minutes and getting dominated on the boards. However, in the final 10 minutes, the Mavericks made 14 of 21 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and were plus-6 in rebounding.

Minnesota State finished the half on a 12-2 run, highlighted by seven points from Zach Romashko, to lead 45-33.

“I thought we got a little stagnant at times in the second half,” Monaghan said. “We just needed to get some stops and rebound better. It all starts with defense and rebounding. If we do that, we can be more explosive.”

Northern State gradually closed the gap throughout the second half, drawing within 65-64 at the four-minute mark. But Monaghan hit three tough jumpers from the wing and 10 of 10 free throws to finish with 29 points.

“They really packed it in, and some of the shots we were making in the first half, we weren’t making in the second half,” Margenthaler said. “They got a lot of the 50-50 balls, and we weren’t able to get out in transition.”

Romashko finished with 15 points off the bench, and Jarvis Williams had 13 points and seven boards. MSU had only eight turnovers and forced 18.

 Minnesota State (11-1, 7-1 in NSIC) hosts Minnesota State-Moorhead at 6 p.m. today at Bresnan Arena.

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