The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 10, 2012

Mavericks crush Vikings in basketball opener

MANKATO — Zach Monaghan came to Minnesota State with the reputation as a shooter.

But early in the second half, the 6-foot-2 guard took a lead pass from Lucas Brown, jumped high and tomahawked a slam.

“I heard a little roar from the crowd on that one,” said Monaghan, cracking a big smile. “I don’t think they expected that.”

Monaghan, a transfer from South Dakota State and the younger brother of Mavericks assistant coach Pat Monaghan, scored 15 points as the Mavericks opened the season with a 100-42 nonconference victory over Bethany Lutheran on Saturday at Bresnan Arena. The game counted as an exhibition for Division III Bethany.

“I thought we competed well,” said assistant coach Mike Schott, who was subbing for suspended coach Matt Margenthaler. “We talked beforehand about bringing the energy tonight, and it started on the defensive end. We see that every day in practice, and in a game like this, we should be the superior team. It shows up in their field-goal percentage and rebounds.”

Bethany shot only 28.6 percent from the field, and the Mavericks had a 51-19 advantage in rebounding.

Monaghan showed off his shooting in the first half, making his first three 3-pointers. In exhibition games against Minnesota and Iowa State, he made just 4 of 13 from 3-point range.

“I take what they give me,” Monaghan said. “If they leave me open, I’ll shoot. But I definitely like to create for others, too.”

Minnesota State led 14-8 after five minutes but went on a 27-4 run over the next 10 minutes to open the gap. Monaghan had 13 points at the break, while Jarvis Williams scored 10 as the Mavericks shot 65.5 percent, mostly on layups.

“MSU was terrific,” Bethany coach Dave Balza said. “They’re bigger and more athletic. My biggest disappointment was offensive rebounds. We gave up too many, and that’s one of their strengths.

“Our game plan was to make them shoot jumps shots, which they did, but they made them. At halftime, I told the guys that (MSU) can’t keep shooting like that, but they did.”

Early in the second half, Minnesota State scored 16 straight, with consecutive 3-pointers from Alex Hanks, to build a 69-21 lead. Monaghan fed Connor O’Brien from halfcourt with a perfect pass for the dunk, finishing with five assists.

“Zach is an excellent facilitator,” Schott said. “We need him to be aggressive because that opens things up for everybody else.”

Bethany’s best stretch came in the final six minutes as Deon Wright and Jacob Wensmann hit consecutive 3-pointers in a 12-4 run.

Zach Romashko led the Mavericks with 19 points with three 3-pointers in the second half. Gage Wooten added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Mavericks shot 60.6 percent, making 12 of 25 from 3-point range. The Mavericks had 26 assists, with Jaymeson Moten getting six.

“It’s good that basketball (season) is finally here,” Monaghan said. “We had two tough exhibitions that didn’t go like we wanted, but coach has been keeping the mojo high. This was a great tuneup for the California trip.”

Deon Wright led Bethany with 10 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers.

Bethany opens the regular season Thursday at home against St. Olaf. The Mavericks (1-0) compete in the Sonoma State tournament Friday and Saturday.

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