The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 24, 2012

MSU blows out Mount Marty 92-63

MANKATO — There have been two exhibition losses to Division I teams, two road victories over Division II teams and a pair of home wins against drastically overmatched teams.

So as the Minnesota State men's basketball teams prepares to begin play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, what have we learned in those six contests?

“Through four games, we've showed that we'll keep battling,” junior Connor O'Brien said. “We've faced some deficits, but we're going to be a team that always battles.”

The Mavericks overwhelmed Mount Marty 92-63 in the final nonconference game Saturday at Bresnan Arena. There were several highlights in the game, which included seven dunks by Minnesota State.

“No one cares about stats,” O'Brien said. “The only stat we're concerned about is the win. People feed you, and you feed others. That's the way we have to play to be successful.”

Center Assem Marei, the transfer from Egypt, finally got untracked, scoring 19 points with four rebounds. He was 7 of 9 from the field and 5 of 5 at the free-throw line, by far his most productive game.

“Our goal was to get him going,” coach Matt Margenthaler said. “He's struggled a little offensively, but I thought he found a little rhythm tonight. He's such a difference-maker for us, offensively and defensively. We need him on the floor.”

Minnesota State had 27 assists on 38 field goals, a good sign that the ball is moving to the open player. In the first three games, the Mavericks averaged 20 assists per game.

Zach Mobaghan had nine points, nine assists and five steals.

“We have great chemistry on this team,” Margenthaler said. “Everyone's willing to help the team.”

The Mavericks applied enough defensive pressure to cause 21 turnovers and hold Mount Marty to 33.3 percent shooting in the first half. Opponents are shooting only 41.5 percent from the field and have made 43 turnovers in three games.

“We're capable of playing good defense,” O'Brien said. “We've got some guys who are new to the system so it might take a while.”

The Mavericks (4-0) open Northern Sun play Saturday at home against Concordia-St. Paul. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m., but that could be pushed later to accommodate the football playoff game.

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