The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 8, 2013

BSU upsets Mavericks 82-74

MANKATO — Through 20 games, the Minnesota State men’s basketball had lost twice, both at home.

There was a one-point loss to Upper Iowa, and an overtime setback against Augustana. Neither of which was a “bad” loss, considering those teams have a combined record of 31-11.

But the Mavericks now have a “bad” loss.

“There’s no explanation for the lack of effort and concentration tonight,” MSU coach Matt Margenthaler said. “We had a serious lack of focus on both ends, and then frustration sets in.

“Instead of coming together in adversity, we split apart. We have to do a better job as coaches and as a team of handling that better. We have a young team, and our immaturity showed tonight.”

Minnesota State didn’t take care of the ball very well and didn’t defend much in the second half, falling to Bemidji State 82-74 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball game Friday at Bresnan Arena. It’s the third home loss of the season for Minnesota State.

“It should be the other way,” junior Gage Wooten said. “We should be better at home, but we weren’t ready tonight.

“Maybe we think we’re the big men on campus and we get too big-headed at home. We feel like we have something to prove when we’re on the road. We need to feel like that at home, too.”

The Mavericks had a five-point lead at halftime, but the Beavers hit two 3-pointers to open the second half, a sign of what was to come.

Dermaine Crockrell scored 11 points in the first five minutes of the second half, giving the Beavers the lead for good at 45-43. The lead grew to double-digits at the 12-minute mark.

The Mavericks got the lead down to five a couple times, but each run seemed to be followed by a careless turnover or bad shot.

“Our defense gave up way too many easy shots,” Wooten said. “All layups. They shot 50 percent, that’s not good.”

A late series summed up the game. The Mavericks had just cut the lead to 72-67, and the fans finally came to life. But two turnovers led to a layup and flagrant foul on Zach Monaghan, and the lead was back to nine.

“We had the ball in the hands of the guys we want to have the ball and usually make plays,” Margenthaler said. “We have to learn from this. We’re 18-3, and we still have a lot of basketball to play.”

Wooten led Minnesota State with 19 points, and Jarvis Williams had 15. Connor O’Brien finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Monaghan had seven assists and four steals.

For Bemidji State, Crockrell scored 29 points, with 22 in the second half. Mason Walters had 17 points.

The Mavericks (18-3, 14-3 in Northern Sun) have another home game at 6 p.m. today, against Minnesota Crookston.

“We have to get back to trusting each other and playing like we did the first 20 games,” Margenthaler said. “It’s a big game so that we can feel good about playing here and have fun playing together.”

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