Second half collapse

NSU outscores Beavers 53-29 in second half en route to blowout win

Sean Arbaut/Minot State  Minot State's Tyler Rudolph takes a 3-pointer during a men's college basketball game Friday at the MSU Dome.

For its first seven games, the Minot State men’s basketball team faced little to no adversity.

That quickly changed Friday against No. 21 Northern State.

In what could have been considered the biggest game in their Division II era, the Beavers fell apart after six straight fouls were called against them in a minute and 9 second stretch, which allowed for a 33-16 run the in final 10 minutes of the game. NSU, boasting the No. 3 scoring defense in the nation, handed the Beavers their first loss of the season, 86-60.

The 86 points allowed were a season high and MSU’s 60 points scored were a season low.

“I just thought we had a stretch in the second half where we didn’t guard with our feet really well,” MSU coach Matt Murken said. “From there, they were a lot better from fighting to finish off shot clocks. On the offensive end, we pressed to try and score a little too quick, and their defense also forced us to scramble the last 15 seconds of a shot clock. We just settled for the first available shot at times and had guys trying to make shots to get us back into it instead of trying to rely on each other during that stretch.”

NSU opened the game on a 18-8 run, putting the Beavers in an early hole for the first time all season.

MSU went on a 8-0 run to end the first half, and only trailed NSU 33-31 at halftime. It was the first time they’ve trailed at halftime all season.

After dominating the Beavers in last year’s home contest, 6-foot-8 forward Logan Doyle and 6-foot-10 center Carter Evans had a combined six points at halftime, but point guard Ian Smith picked up his teammates with a 15 point first half on a 7 of 9 shooting effort.

“We didn’t turn the ball over the entire second half. You have to credit Minot for forcing 13 turnovers in the first half but some of those were really self-inflicted,” NSU coach Paul Sather said. “We were lucky to be up two after committing 13 turnovers in one half. Our loved how our guys created movement from the inside out and I loved the shot selection. It was really fun to watch.”

NSU took a 51-42 lead with 11:27 remaining in the game, but six straight calls were called on the Beavers in the next 1:09, leaving MSU frazzled.

“There’s always learning experiences in every game,” Murken said. “To their credit, they took care of the ball a little bit better and took care of their offensive end in the second half.”

The Wolves closed the game on a 33-16 run and outscored the Beavers 53-29 in the second half.

Smith finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists for NSU. DJ Pollard chipped in 11 for the Wolves, who shot 53.7 percent from the floor and 12-of-23 from beyond the arc.

“Ian was our go-guy from the start,” Sather said. “That’s what Ian’s been doing all year, and I love how he’s been guarding. He gave us a lift tonight.”

Tyler Rudolph led the Beavers with 19 points and six rebounds, while Nathaniel Moore added 18 points. Senior point guard Luis Ricci Maia had a game-high eight assists for MSU, which shot 36.5 percent from the floor and 3-of-11 from 3-point range.

MSU is back in action against MSU Moorhead at 6 p.m. today at the MSU Dome.

“We told the guys coming in they’re going to play two conference games this weekend and depending what happens people are going to tell you you’re either really good or not good,” Murken said. “Neither of those things are probably true this early in the year. I think our team has been workmanlike through the ups and downs and hopefully we’ll continue to do that.”

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.