Men’s Basketball sends seniors off in style with a season-ending victory


Joseph Eichele

Fourth-year Luke Martens in his last collegiate game of his career this weekend.

Pronob Kumar, Sports Reporter

Winona State University won their last game of the season against Concordia University, St. Paul at home and sent off their seniors in style. The game took place in the McCown Gymnasium, home of WNB Financial Court, and ended with a score of 81 – 77. The stands were almost full as it had 983 attendees where two senior players of Winona State, Owen King and team captain Luke Martens were given the standout seniors award.

The first half of the game was slow as both teams were focused on their defenses. The Warriors were one point ahead against the Golden Bears, but they scored one 3-point shot more than the Warriors. The half ended with a score of 33 – 32.

Most of the drama from the match started in the second half as both teams got two rebounds. Before the third quarter ended Winona State took a 10 point lead. This helped them to seal the victory later on. Winona State player Connor Dillon was fouled on a driving layup with 1:08 to go in the game and converted on the ensuing free throw to give WSU a 77 – 72 lead.

However, Concordia University – St. Paul scored a pair of free throws at the other end and then drained a three-pointer moments later to answer a Connor Drew layup for Winona State, closing the gap to 79 – 77.

According to the history between these two, Winona State was the favorite as they were on a seven game winning streak. They also have a strong history of 22 wins and only 6 losses against Concordia. The only disadvantage Winona State had in this match was having an injured player, King, who is the team’s main defender.

As a team, Winona State was 29 of 59 (49.2%) from the floor and 8 of 23 (34.8%) from three-point territory. WSU converted 15 of their 24 free throws, including eight of the final ten efforts with under five minutes to play.

The Warriors were solid defensively against the Golden Bears, owning a 15 – 2 advantage on points scored off turnovers and the Warriors held a narrow 31 – 30 rebounding advantage. Winona State player Connor Drew had four successful rebounds which were converted into points and that was a turning point in the play in the second half.

Concordia was led in scoring by Antwan Kimmons with 22 points. Kimmons was also the top Golden Bear rebounder with 10 boards.

With ten seconds left, Martens was fouled following the inbounds pass, and, with the game in his hands on the free throw line, he converted both attempts to move the scoreboard to 81 – 77.

Martens will soon step aside from the captaincy of Winona State men’s basketball team, and there is a big question coming about who will be the next captain? Winona State coach Todd Eisner was silent while this question was asked. But we got a few hints from the assistant coach Caleb Wagner and current team captain Luke.

“Connor Dillon and Declan Dillon are coming back for the fourth year because they had that extra COVID year, Connor Drew a starter they’re all starters this year, coming back Connor Drew in his third year, so we need guys to step up for sure,” Wagner said.

“Anyone could step up Connor Dillon, Connor Drew, we got James Kelley. It just depends on who wants to step up and take charge and you know, who was more respected within the team, but I know they’ll figure it out and find ways to win next year,” Martens commented.

After both quotes, we can see one name commonly mentioned, “Connor Dillon”. He is the main attacker of the team and was the player of the week for the last two weeks. Connor Dillon also had 27 points in the game was his second time this season hitting that figure, just three shy of his career-high 30 achieved on Jan. 14 against Minnesota Duluth. Connor Dillon finishes the season with 14 games of 20 or more points scored.

When Connor Dillon himself was asked about the captaincy situation he was positive and said, “I would like to step in that role, most likely, because we had two really good captains that are leaving next year. So, I mean, we are going to need some leaders next year. So definitely need to step up.”

Concordia University – St. Paul falls to 8 – 20 on the year, and 6 – 16 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play. With the win, Winona State concludes the 2022-23 season at 15 – 12 overall and 10 – 12 in the NSIC. Winona State was close to qualifying, only needing one more win, but were not able to get that.