The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 10, 2013

College Basketball Notebook: MSU men face test in NSIC

By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — The Minnesota State men’s basketball team has already made one pass through the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division schedule, winning six of seven games, but this weekend, the Mavericks see what the best teams in the North Division look like.

“I think we’re still learning how to play with each other,” coach Matt Margenthaler said. “And we continue to get better, which is what good teams do. They are great things to look forward to.”

Minnesota State (10-1, 6-1 in Northern Sun) hosts Northern State (11-3, 6-1) at 8 p.m. today and Minnesota State-Moorhead (12-1, 6-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday. Northern State and Minnesota State-Moorhead are tied for the North Division lead.

“Both teams are off to great starts and playing with a lot of confidence,” Margenthaler said. “These are important games because we only see (the North Division teams) once so we need to take care of business.”

Northern State, which has won four straight games, is led by Collin Pryor, the Northern Sun player of the week who is averaging 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds. The Wolves outrebound opponents by nearly five per game and are shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

Minnesota State-Moorhead features the league’s top scorer in Anthony Tucker, who played at Winona State two years ago. He’s averaging 20.8 points, while center Alex Novak is averaging 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds and shooting 61.5 percent from the field. The Dragons have attempted 286 3-pointers in 13 games, 109 more than the Mavericks.

Minnesota State remains the top rebounding team in the Northern Sun, with a margin of 12.5 boards per game. The Mavericks also lead the conference in assists.

Assem Marei is averaging 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds, while Jarvis Williams is next at 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds. Zach Monaghan leads the Northern Sun with 2.3 steals per game.

Minnesota State women

The Mavericks (9-2, 5-2) have signed Britney Scherber, who will begin practicing immediately but will redshirt the rest of this season.

Scherber, a 5-8 guard, played at Bloomington Jefferson, where she earned four varsity letters and set school records for points in a game (45), 3-pointers in a season (64), career 3-pointers (171) and career assists (293). She’s Jefferson’s leading scorer at 1,563 career points.

Scherber had signed with Bradley University but left after one semester. She would have been eligible to play right away, but the decision was made to give her four full seasons at Minnesota State.

“She just has a knack for scoring,” Thiesse said. “She has scoring records like crazy (in high school). She has the strength; she doesn’t back down from anybody.”

Gustavus Adolphus

The men’s and women’s teams both had winning streaks broken Wednesday by St. Thomas.

For the women’s team (9-3, 8-1), Abby Rothenbuehler ranks seventh in the MIAC in scoring (12.8 points), second in rebounding (8.5) and third in field-goal percentage (50.4 percent). Karina Schroeder is second in field-goal percentage (56.4 percent), with Julia Dysthe in fifth (49.0 percent).

The men’s team (7-6, 4-4) is led by Ben Biewen, who is averaging 16.3 points, and Jim Hill, who is averaging 15.3 points. Hill was held under 10 points for the first time Wednesday. Freshman Brody Ziegler tied his season high with nine points Wednesday.

Bethany Lutheran

The Bethany men (3-8, 1-0 in conference) opened the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference schedule with a victory over Martin Luther on Tuesday. The defending league champions go on the road to North Central tonight and Northwestern on Saturday. Gavin Kroehler leads the team in scoring at 11.3 points. Garrett Benson is shooting 58.7 percent from the field, including 57.6 percent on 3-pointers.

The women’s team (2-10, 0-1) is led by Jade Pelzl, who ranks second in the UMAC in scoring at 14.6 points per game. Shelby Wiederhoeft is third in rebounding  at 8.8 and third in field-goal shooting at 44.7 percent. Aimie Wiechmann is the top 3-point shooter at 44.0 percent.