Men’s basketball bounces back after prior weekend losses

Allison Mueller

Dillon Hogan/ Winonan

Coming off of a weekend on the road in which they suffered two losses at the hands of conference foes, the Winona State men’s basketball team turned things around with a pair of home wins this weekend against Bemidji State 75-68 and Minnesota Crookston 76-52.

The first game of the weekend pitted the Warriors against the Beavers. Going into the game Winona State had a 9-9 record on the season with a 6-8 record in the conference, whereas Bemidji State had a 7-11 record for the season with a 3-11 conference record.

Isaiah Gray and Kyle Bauman were the go-to Warrior players in the first half with Gray scoring 12 of his game high 28 points in the first half and Bauman adding 13 of his career high 18 points in the first half. Using these two major contributions the Warriors went into halftime with a fourteen-point lead over Bemidji State 42-28.

The second half would be more of a struggle for the Warriors as the Beavers made a strong bid to get back into the ballgame. With less than nine minutes remaining Bemidji State was able to cut Winona State’s lead to four.

A quick burst of offense gave Winona State some breathing room, but not for long as Bemidji used back-to-back three point shots to negate any chance of the Warriors pulling away.

Gray followed with eight points (six of which were free throws) to help Winona State pull ahead and stay ahead of Bemidji State. The final score of the game saw a Warrior victory 75-68.

As a team, the Warriors shot 27-59 for a 45.8 field goal percentage and 6-17 for a 35.3 three point percentage. With a 10-9 overall record for the season and a 7-8 record in the NSIC, the Warriors were set to square off against Minnesota Crookston the next night looking to reach .500 in the conference and stay above .500 overall before embarking on a four-game road trip over the next two weekends.

Winona State relied on their accurate shooting that allowed the Warriors to move through most of the game without much retaliation by Minnesota Crookston.

A full team effort by the Warriors saw at least three points from all but one player that saw floor time. Once the game was underway, Winona State was in a close match for the first few minutes until a short run put them ahead of Minnesota Crookston for good.

Despite holding a lead for almost the entirety of the game the first half was close until right before halftime when Winona State went on a 13-0 run to give themselves a comfortable 18 point lead.

Not easing up in the second half, the Warriors would continue to play just as well as they had in the first half. Winona State propelled to a 20-point lead that they would not give up en route to winning the game 76-52.

As a team the Warriors shot 10-16 from behind the three-point arc for a 62.5 shooting percentage. Winona State posted 29-51 field goal shooting and 56.9 overall shooting percentage. Leading the team in scoring was Riley Bambenek with 17 points, who bounced back after a scoreless game against Bemidji State. Gray followed with 13 along with Corey Jeffs who posted 12.

After the game against Crookston the Warriors are now two games above .500 with an 11-9 record for the season. The win also moved the Warriors 8-8 in the NSIC.

Next weekend begins a road trip for the Warriors with visits to St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 6 and 7.