Men’s basketball celebrates weekend victory and head coach’s 500th win

Syerah Mulhern-Allred, sports reporter

Winona State University’s men’s basketball team had a much-needed winning weekend against Concordia-St. Paul after being outplayed by challenging opponents the last few weeks, but that was not the only thing worth celebrating.

Saturday’s winning game also marked 500 career wins for Head Coach Todd Eisner across the 23 seasons and five schools he has coached for.

Eisner has accomplished 79 wins at Viterbo University, 225 at Bellevue University, 16 at Benedictine College, 96 at Midland University and 84 with the Winona State Warriors.

On the road to 500 wins, Eisner achieved numerous accomplishments such as one National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Coach of the Year award, 19 seasons with winning records, seven conference tournament titles and seven regular season conference titles.

Fourth-year guard, Dalante Peyton, reflected on the goal the team set for this weekend as they aimed to keep the Golden Bears below 70 points in both games.

The goal was triumphantly achieved as Friday night’s final score was 76-62 and Saturday night’s was 77-58.

This past weekend also marked third-year player Alec Rosner’s first game back to the hardwood after suffering from a partially torn ACL.

The injury occurred during a practice before the series against the University of Minnesota- Duluth Bulldogs, cutting his third season short.

“It was nice having him back on the floor,” Peyton said. “I think it [having Rosner back] boosted our performance; he brings a lot to the table.”

Being out for practices and games for most of the season didn’t stop Rosner, who scored 11 points on Friday during the 17 minutes he played, along with 18 minutes of playing time on Saturday.

Rosner has been a strong player for all three years of his collegiate basketball career with the Warriors.

Rosner, being a valuable player for the team, played 948 minutes during his second season and averaged a .404 from behind the arc with 40 steals during the season.

However, Peyton said even after a successful weekend, one weak spot for the team is waiting too long in the game to assess the opposing team’s strategies and game play.

The Warriors seem to score the most during the second half, typically not being able to keep up during the first half of the game.

“Sometimes we wait too long to see how the other team is going to play instead of just taking control of the game right away,” Peyton said.

This pattern has been evident throughout the season, especially so during the games against Wayne State, where the Warriors took a hard loss when they were not able to catch up after an unfortunate first half.

The Warriors play their final two regular season games against the Upper Iowa University Peacocks next weekend, a team that Winona State has a history of winning against.

Earlier this year, the team played against the Peacocks in Iowa, resulting in an 81-79 win on Friday night and 92-90 on Saturday.

After a difficult season of injuries, cancelled games and COVID-19 complications, the Warriors hope to finish the regular season strong in a seemingly easy matchup next weekend.