Winona State University’s men’s basketball team went on the road this week and lost both their games.
The Warriors opened up the weekend with a close 80-84 double overtime loss to University of Sioux Falls before dropping another close one, 67-69, to Southwest Minnesota State University.
In the first matchup with the Cougars earlier this season, sophomore guard/forward Kevion Taylor hit a late three-pointer to help the Warriors get the 80-77 victory.
The rematch would be another highly-contested affair, with both teams trading shots to begin the game. With 12:51 minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 8-8. The game began to heat up from there.
Neither team could find an advantage, and with 2:51 remaining in the half the game was tied again at 30. Winona State would hit back-to-back threes to take a six-point lead, but the Cougars would respond with two-point field goal to cut the halftime lead 36-32.
Taylor led the way in points for the Warriors with 12 points in the half, all coming from beyond the arc. The team also shot over 45 percent from the field and over 55 percent from three-point range. Winona State also held Sioux Falls to less than 40 percent from the field and only 30 percent from beyond the arc, but the Cougars were able to stay in the game by outrebounding the Warriors 21-11.
The second half began with a 17-5 run by Sioux Falls to take a seven-point lead. Winona State responded with 8-0 run to establish a 50-49 lead. After more lead changes, the Cougars were able to find momentum to take a six-point lead with 5:54 left. After consecutive threes by first-year guard Nick Klug, the Warriors were able to tie the game at 66 with 1:59 left in regulation. Both teams would fail at attempts to take the lead, forcing overtime.
In the extra period, Sioux Falls would score two quick shots to take a four-point lead. Taylor would get a layup to pull the game within two with 3:09 left and senior guard Mason Domask would hit the game-tying free throws with seconds left in overtime. Sioux Falls would not be able to respond, forcing another overtime.
In the second extra period, the Warriors hit two buckets to take a four-point lead. The Cougars responded by going on a 12-4 run to take four-point lead with 16 seconds left. Both teams would trade free throws and the Warriors would fall 80-84.
In the second game of the weekend road trip, the Warriors went up against Southwest Minnesota State University, whom they beat 85-67 at home earlier in the season.
The Warriors opened up the game with five consecutive points. The Mustangs responded with five straight points themselves, tying up the game. From there the half would continue back and forth.
With the score tied at 20 and 10:13 left, the Mustangs would takeover, going on a 20-10 run to finish the half 40-30.
Winona State could not get it going from the field, shooting below 40 percent from the field, while also only hitting two of 11 shots from beyond the arc, whereas the Mustangs shot over 55 percent from the field and hit three of seven from the three-point line.
The second half would be more competitive, with the Warriors slicing the lead to two points in the opening four minutes of the first half.
The Warriors would get their first lead of the second half with less than 14 minutes left in regulation. Winona State would get the lead to 10, but the Mustangs responded by going on an 18-6 run to take a 69-67 lead. The Warriors got a shot at a game-winner but missed at the buzzer.
Senior guard Mason Domask added the key to victory moving on is to “build a lot of momentum, which in return elevates what we are capable of on the defensive end.”
With two games left in the regular season, Domask reflected on his time with the team as it nears its close.
“It’s bittersweet, but because I have had so much experience, I try my best to use that to my advantage while also being a mentor to the younger guys on the team.” Domask said.
The Warriors finish off the regular season with two games at home, the first against Concordia University starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Feb. 22 and finishing the weekend with a rivalry game against Minnesota State University-Mankato at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.