No. 13 NSU clobbers MSU men for second time

Garrick Hodge/MDN MSU's Luis Ricci Maia (11) dribbles while eying passing lanes Saturday.

ABERDEEN — Everything went wrong from tipoff for the Minot State men’s basketball team Saturday.

Searching for redemption after a 26-point lost to Northern State on Dec. 1 at the MSU Dome, the Beavers instead turned in their worst offensive performance of the season in a 75-56 loss to the No. 13 Wolves in Aberdeen.

Northern State (16-1, 10-0 NSIC) has been the proverbial boogeyman in an otherwise perfect season for the Beavers, winning by a combined 45 points in two games against MSU. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for MSU, which fell to 0-2 against NSU and 14-0 against everyone else.

“They’re really good,” MSU coach Matt Murken said. “Right now they’re probably the best team in the NSIC. They haven’t lost in the league, they’re well coached and have some great players. I think this game had more to do with them being really good than it does with matchups.”

MSU (14-2, 8-2) was already playing at a disadvantage, with senior star forward Tyler Rudolph hobbling after an ankle injury suffered in the win against MSU Moorhead Friday. Rudolph found a way to play for 31 minutes anyway and scored 10 points, increasing his double-digit point streak to 36 games. That was about the extent of the highlights for MSU, though.

Garrick Hodge/MDN Minot State's Nate Moore (0) drives to the basket during a men's college basketball game Saturday in Aberdeen.

“They did a good job on him, they’re the best defense in the league,” Murken said. “He didn’t play like his normal self. I probably shouldn’t have left him out there that long. That definitely hurt us. But they gave him a lot of hard looks defensively. They had a good defensive game plan tonight.”

NSU opened on a 24-7 run and never trailed in the contest. With the clock winding down, NSU guard Ian Smith drained a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, leaving the Beavers staring at a 45-26 halftime deficit.

Smith finished with a game-high 17 points for the Wolves, while DJ Pollard chipped in 16 points and Gabe King added 15. NSU shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 9-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Other scorers in double figures for the Beavers were Nate Moore (13) and Luis Ricci Maia (10). MSU shot 39.6 percent from the floor and 4-of-15 from 3-point range.

“You have to play good teams to find out who you are,” Murken said. “The things that aren’t your strengths, good teams can expose that and let you work on them. There’s some things that we can learn from this and get better from so we can eventually beat them, but more importantly to get better as a team.”

Minot State is back in action at 8 p.m. Friday against Minnesota State Mankato at the MSU Dome.

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