Akibo’s 27 points not enough for MSU men

Sam Thiel/Marshall Independent Minot State's Tyler Rudolph (24) puts up a shot during a men's college basketball game Friday in Marshall, Minn.

MARSHALL, Minn. – Junior David Akibo scored a career-high 27 points and senior Luis Ricci Maia added 16 points and 12 assists, but Minot State dropped an 84-79 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game to Southwest Minnesota State on Friday in the Recreation/Athletic Facility.

Minot State, which dropped to 17-6 overall and 11-6 in the NSIC, fell behind by 13 points and a late second-half rally fell short.

The Beavers trailed 77-64 with 4:44 to play in the second half following a jumper by Ryan Bruggeman before staging a comeback.

Tyler Rudolph converted a layup and Brandon Green drilled a three-pointer to trim the lead to 77-69 at the 3:54 mark of the second.

Akibo and Bruggeman exchanged free throws before Russ Davis drained a three-pointer to bring Minot State to within 79-74 with 2:08 remaining in the game.

Two more free throws from Bruggeman upped the lead to 81-74, but a three-point play by Akibo got Minot State to within 81-77 at the 1:35 mark of the second period.

The Mustangs misfired on a three-point attempt and Nathaniel Moore cleaned the glass for the Beavers. On the subsequent possession, Akibo was fouled underneath and made two free throws to cut the lead to 81-79 with 1:05 to play.

Following a timeout, Bruggeman missed a jumper but Kirk Carter collected the rebound and converted a layup pushing the lead to 83-79 with 40 seconds remaining.

The Beavers turned the ball over on their next trip and KJ Davis made one of two free throw attempts to seal the victory.

Southwest Minnesota State, which improved to 16-7 overall and 12-5 in conference play, shot 56.6 percent from the floor and 93.3 percent from the free throw line for the game.

Bruggeman led the Mustangs with 26 points, while Carter finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Lee also had 17 points for Southwest Minnesota State.

Minot State shot 54.4 percent from the floor, including 57.1 percent in the second half, for the game.

Akibo finished the game 10-of-16 from the floor and also had six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Moore finished with 10 points for Minot State, while Tyler Rudolph and Davis each scored eight points.

Minot State will continue its current road trip with a game against Sioux Falls on Saturday (Feb. 3) at 6 p.m.

— Minot State athletics