Taylor stands out in weekend road trip

Christopher Edwards, Sports Reporter

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The Winona State University men’s basketball team split their two road games over the weekend. They started with a 66-80 loss against the University of Minnesota Crookston on Friday, Jan. 18, but were able to rebound and win 87-59 against Bemidji State University on Saturday, Jan 19.

Against Minnesota-Crookston, the Warriors came out slow in the first half. The game started with an 8-0 run by the Golden Eagles. Defensively, Winona State allowed over 46 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from three point range.

Meanwhile on offense, the Warriors struggled with shooting, and shot less than 40 percent from the field and only made four of 14 from outside the arc.

The team was also outrebounded 12-19 and gave up 12 points on turnovers during the opening 20 minutes. Sophomore Kevion Taylor led the Warriors in the first half with seven points, making all three of his shots, though at the half they would trail 42-24.

In the second period, the Warriors looked to play smarter and more aggressive on both ends off the court. The team did that by decreasing the number of turnovers, while also getting more shot attempts and hitting on a higher clip. Defensively, they forced more takeaways and allowed a lower shooting percentage.

After two made free throws by junior guard Caleb Wagner, Winona State would get within six points of the lead, but after multiple missed shots by the Warriors, the Golden Eagles would go on an 8-0 run to cement their victory.

Despite the loss, the Warriors were able to have some positive takeaways from the game. In the second half, they would outscore the Golden Eagles, including 18 points by Taylor, who had a career-high 25 points.

Continuing on their road trip, the team would head to Bemidji State University looking for continued improvement.

The opening half the game was highly contested, as both teams shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Though the Beavers shot a better percentage from the field, their 11 turnovers would keep the Warriors in the game. Bemidji would end the half up 38-36.

After a close game to start, the second 20-minute period would be a different story. Early on in the period, the Warriors took a 44-41 lead and wouldn’t look back. The defense allowed only 21 points, and held them to less than 40 percent shooting from field and only 27 percent from three-point range. On offense the Warriors were dominant with shooting over 62 percent from the field and having only one turnover in route to the 87-59 victory.

The next Warrior basketball will be at home against Southwest Minnesota State University Friday, Jan. 25 with tipoff at 7:30 p.m.