Minnesota State edges Metro State
Late 3-pointer leads Mavericks to spot in regional final
MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota State had three players score double-digits en route to a 69-65 victory against Metro State College in the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Division II Central Region tournament.
With the win, Minnesota State (26-4) advanced to Tuesday night’s regional final where it will face Fort Lewis College in the Taylor Center.
Both teams traded shots in the game’s first 20 minutes as they played to a 27-all tie at the half. Then after each team traded field goals to start the second half, senior guard Taylor Morrow drilled a 3 from the right wing to give MSU a 33-31 advantage.
Metro State then dictated the pace for the next six minutes as it opened a lead as large as five at 42-37 with 14:08 remaining. The Mavericks began to chip away at the lead until Morrow buried a 3 from the left corner to tie the game at 44.
From that point on, Minnesota State took over as Mason gave MSU the lead for good when he converted a missed shot giving MSU a 46-44 lead. After the Maverick defense forced a turnover, junior guard Stephen Kirschbaum drained a 3-pointer to extend MSU’s lead to five and shift the momentum into MSU’s favor.
Metro State would cut the Maverick lead to one twice in the final eight minutes of the game but MSU continually answered the bell as it extended its lead to seven with 3:29 remaining.
The Roadrunners would not go quietly as A.J. Flounoy drained a 3-pointer with 59 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 67-64.
After MSU came up empty on its ensuing possession, Metro State’s leading scorer – Reggie Evans stepped to the line with an opportunity to tie the game at 67. Evans would miss both free throws and senior wing Jefferson Mason hauled in the rebound before being fouled.
Mason – who entered the game connecting on 22-of-24 free throw attempts in the final two minutes – calmly sank both free throws to ice the win for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks were led offensively by Mason who finished with 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 11-of-12 from the line, while adding nine rebounds. Mason missed his first free throw of the game before rattling off 10 consecutive.
Senior guard Cameron Hodges added 12 points and nine rebounds while Morrow had 11 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Marcus Hill stuffed the stat sheet as he finished with eight points, a career-high seven rebounds and six assists.
Minnesota State finished the night shooting 35.9 percent from the floor while Metro State hit on 38.1 percent.
Evans led the Roadrunners with 22 points.