Rudolph approaching significant milestone as Beavers host weekend series

Sean Arbaut/Minot State Athletics Minot State's Tyler Rudolph (24) drives to the lane during a men's college basketball game earlier this season.

All eyes will be on No. 24 this weekend at the MSU Dome.

Senior forward Tyler Rudolph can cement himself as one of the greatest to ever wear a Minot State uniform, as he enters tonight’s 8 p.m. matchup against Winona State 30 points from being the all-time leading scorer in Minot State men’s basketball history.

The top spot is currently occupied by Paul Harrell, who played at Minot State from 1977-80 and finished with 1,826 career points. Rudolph recently moved into second place on the all-time scoring list last weekend and has 1,797 career points.

This season, Rudolph is second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in scoring with 22 points per game and field goal percentage with a 60.6 percent clip from the floor.

“Tyler’s career has been special,” MSU coach Matt Murken said. “He came in and played limited minutes his freshman year but it just didn’t phase him. He just kept coming and fighting every day and thought he was the best player on the floor. He took coaching really well and continued to develop.

“He’s going to be embarrassed as heck when he breaks that record and people start asking him about it, because he just wants a victory on Friday and to do it again the next day.”

While Rudolph’s milestone will certainly create a lot of hoopla around the two-game series, the Beavers need wins against Winona State and Upper Iowa if they want to bolster their potential NCAA Tournament resumes.

The Warriors enter tonight’s matchup 13-7 overall and 8-6 in conference play, while having four players averaging double figures. Winona features a balanced offensive attack – their top four scorers all have averages within two points of each other – but has had serious home and road performance splits. The Warriors are 10-1 at home and 3-6 on the road this season (including one game on a neutral site).

Factor in that Winona State is traveling from around 13 hours away, it might be a difficult matchup against the 17-3 Beavers.

“You have to find a way to win basketball games at home,” Murken said. “We’ve been pretty good at that this year. Regardless of where we lace them up, we’re going to have to compete with an edge. When we’ve done that, we’ve been pretty good.”

Meanwhile, MSU faces an Upper Iowa team at 6 p.m. Saturday that has taken a hard fall from last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance, turning in a record of 11-12 overall and 4-10 in conference play.

The Peacocks are led by Carson Parker, who averages 16.4 points per game. If the season ended today, MSU and Upper Iowa would meet in the first round of the NSIC Tournament with MSU hosting the game.

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