Men’s basketball 10-10 overall after sweep

Men’s basketball 10-10 overall after sweep

Allison Mueller

Reid Peters / Winonan

Men’s basketball completed its first road sweep of the season this weekend and improved their record to 10-10 (9-7 NSIC).

Winona State University defeated Bemidji State University 84-77 on Friday.

Junior guard Isaiah Gray followed a one-point first half with a 16-point second half, with all 16 scored in the last seven minutes of the game.

Trailing 62-58, the Warriors got a spark from Gray to keep the game within two possessions. A jump shot with three minutes left to play gave Winona State a 71-70 lead, its first since taking a 34-33 lead at the beginning of the second half.

Gray hit another jumper to increase the lead 73-70 before a layup upped the Warrior lead to five with 1:10 to play. After a Gray free throw, Winona State sealed the victory with an 84-77 final.

Gray reached his 17 points shooting 6-of-9 from the field with five rebounds in 26 minutes.

Junior guard Riley Bambenek achieved a milestone in the first half, connecting on a 3-pointer to become the 36th player in Winona State history to score over 1,000 career points. Bambenek ended up tying Gray for the game-high in points along with three assists and four rebounds.

“Defense led to offense for us,” Winona State head coach Todd Eisner said.

The Beavers built a lead in the first half by going on a 19-1 run that spanned over an eight-minute period. The Warriors connected on one of their 13 shot attempts during the Bemidji State run and were down 25-10 with 7:23 left. Sophomore guard Corey Jeffs brought the Warriors back with a 3-pointer that sparked a 9-0 Winona State run.

Before Gray sealed the game for the Warriors, they were trailing 48-36 with 15 minutes to play. First-year forward Tommy Gathje made back-to-back 3-pointers to narrow the Bemidji State lead to six. Gathje made two layups in a row before finding first-year Connor Flack for a 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within two points, 51-49, with around 12 minutes remaining.

Bauman was one of four Warriors to finish in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting along with five rebounds and two steals.

The Warriors followed Friday with an 84-63 victory over the University of Minnesota Crookston on Saturday night.

Both teams shot a lower percentage than their season average in the first half with the Warriors shooting 40.9 percent on 9-of-22, and the Golden Eagles shooting 10.7 percent on 3-of-28.

The Warriors connected on five 3-pointers in the second half. Jeffs made the first of the game at the 12:16 mark to give Winona State a 33-17 lead.

Winona State eventually sealed a 53-41 victory.

Crookston’s 41 points were the fewest Winona has allowed an opponent all season.

Senior forward Mark Blacklock led the Warriors with 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting along with eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Jeffs had 10 points, while Gray had 10 points with five rebounds as well.

Winona State (10-10 overall, 9-7 NSIC) will host the next four games at home spanning over the next two weekends beginning with St. Cloud State on Friday.