March 14, 2009

Courtesy of Winona State Sports Information Office

MARSHALL, MN -- Winona State University took its first step to defending its NCAA Division II National Championship by defeating Metropolitian State College of Denver 60-59 in the first game of the quarterfinal round to the Central Region Tournament held at the R/A Facility on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.

The Warriors (27-4) were the No. 6 Seed coming into the tournament, while Metro State (27-4) was the No. 3 Seed.

The victory by WSU extended their Central Region Tournament winning streak to ten games, while the loss by Metro State snapped the 19-game winning streak the Roadrunners had coming into the contest.

A 14-1 run over five minutes and 13 seconds in the second half gave the Warriors a seven-point, 52-45, lead with 5:34 to play. From there the Warriors held off a late run by the Roadrunners and used a MSCD turnover with one second left to ice the contest.

Metro State had outscored the Warriors 14-8 to get within one point with 27 seconds left. From there Ben Fischer missed a free throw attempt that would have given the Warriors a cushion. David Johnson then came up with a blocked shot for WSU that Metro State recovered on, but MSCD was called for traveling with one second left on the clock. WSU's Jon Walberg missed a free throw attempt, but it made little difference as the final buzzer sounded.

Metro State pretty much held the edge on all of the statistics but the final score.

Leading the Warriors was Johnson with 15 points. Josh Korth and Joel Armstrong followed with 13 points each. Fischer contributed five points with three rebounds, six assists, one blocked shot and one steal.