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Hot-shooting Dragons men snap eight-game losing streak

Minnesota State Moorhead guard Johnny Beeninga, center, drives to the basket against Wayne State on Saturday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. Laurel Hoseth / Dragons Athletics

MOORHEAD—The losing streak is over.

Minnesota State Moorhead got at least 21 points from three different players to cruise to a 90-66 victory against Wayne State on Saturday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The Dragons (5-13, 3-9 NSIC) snapped their eight-game losing streak, winning for the first time since Dec. 8 when they scored an 81-78 home victory against Minnesota-Crookston.

"I thought we had a pretty good weekend," said Dragons head coach Chad Walthall, whose team lost to Augustana 95-85 on Friday night. "We're playing with good spirit and that's what I was happy about this weekend. We played a lot better and with a lot more respect for possessions."

Tanner Kretchman paced the Dragons with a game-high 25 points, including 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. Johnny Beeninga and Travaun Coad added 21 points each. Coad also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double.

"Not many of us have gone through a skid like this before, but I think we handled it well this weekend," said Kretchman, who had four assists. "We fought in both games. We're happy to get a win on Saturday."

Kretchman scored 18 points in the first half Saturday to help the Dragons build a 45-30 halftime lead. The 6-foot senior shot 64 percent (7 of 11) from the floor in opening 20 minutes, including 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. MSUM shot 58 percent (18 of 31) from the floor in the first half, leading by as many as 17 points before halftime.

The 6-foot-1 Beeninga and 6-foot-1 Coad also scored in double digits in the first half. Beeninga had 13 points, while Coad added 10 points by halftime.

"I think we found a better flow on offense and we created some easy shot for everyone on the floor," Kretchman said. "We want everyone to play with the type of confidence that we did tonight."

The Dragons put away Wayne State, scoring 10 consecutive points during one stretch in the second half. Coad scored six points during the scoring spree. Beeninga capped the run with a basket that gave MSUM a 68-48 lead with 10 minutes, 10 seconds to play in the second half.

"It's kind of getting the monkey off our back a little bit," Kretchman said. "We like what we did tonight. It's good momentum going into next weekend."

The Dragons shot 58 percent (34 of 59) from the floor for their best shooting percentage in a game this season.

"This group has really worked hard," Walthall said. "They've been disappointed in the results, but I haven't noticed it in practice. I think that's the biggest thing that i'm really amazed about. It's their approach because that can difficult if your losing a lot of games."

WSC (10-10, 5-7 NSIC): Jacks 6-11 2-2 14, Janssen 5-9 0-0 12, Thomas 2-4 0-0 5, Goodwin 1-4 0-0 2, Cornelius 5-12 0-0 12, Joseph 2-9 3-4 9, Nagy 0-0 0-0 0, Burneika 0-0 0-0 0, Esters 4-6 0-1 8, Dentlinger 0-2 0-0 0, TerHark 1-3 0-0 2, Zumbrennen 0-1 0-0 0, Bonner 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-63 5-7 66.

MSUM (5-13, 3-9): Beeninga 10-16 0-0 21, Kretchman 9-17 3-3 25, Coad 6-8 7-7 21, Anderson 0-4 2-2 2, Park 5-7 3-3 13, Bussman 1-4 0-0 2, Johnson 2-2 0-0 4, Sevlie 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 34-59 15-15 90.

Half: MSUM 45, WSC 30. 3-point goals: WSC 7-25 (Jacks 0-1, Janssen 2-4, Thomas 1-3, Goodwin 0-2, Cornelius 2-4, Joseph 2-7, Dentingler 0-1, TerHark 0-2, Zumbrennen 0-1), MSUM 7-16 (Beeninga 1-3, Kretchman 4-8, Coad 2-3, Bussman 0-2). Total fouls: WSC 16, MSUM 11. Technical foul: WSC bench. Rebounds: WSC 23 (Cornelius 8), MSUM 40 (Coad 12). Assists: WSC 11 (Goodwin 4), MSUM 10 (Kretchman 4). Steals: WSC 6 (Janssen 2, Goodwin 2), MSUM 3 (three players with 1). Turnovers: WSC 8 (Cornelius 2, Esters 2), MSUM 12 (Beeninga 3, Johnson 3). A--901.

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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