WATCH: Dragons overcome late double-digit lead, defeat Minot State

Gavin Baumgartner, right, of Minnesota State Moorhead teaches for a rebound with David Akibo of Minot State during their basketball game Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MOORHEAD - Minnesota State Moorhead was looking for an offensive spark for most of the game Saturday evening at the Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The Dragons found that firepower late in the game.

MSUM scored 26 points over the final six minutes to rally for a 91-86 victory against Minot State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball.

"We were looking for something to flow offensively.," said Dragons freshman Gavin Baumgartner, who tied a career high with 28 points. "We were searching the whole game and kind of found something at the end."

The Dragons trailed by 10 points with less than six minutes remaining, but overcame that deficit with a 20-3 run. Minot State took a 75-65 lead after a sophomore Dorian Aluyi dunk with 6 minutes, 10 seconds to play.

Dragons senior guard Travaun Coad, who ended 13 points, started the rally by scoring on a layup with 5:30 to play. Baumgartner sank a 3-pointer that cut the Minot State lead to 75-72 with 4:42 remaining. Junior guard Johnny Beeninga gave the Dragons the lead for good with a 3-point play for a 79-77 edge with 2:48 to play.

"We were all just so bought in," Baumgartner said. "I think we need to get that all the time and I don't know how we get there. As a group, we're trying to find the ways to motivate ourselves."

MSUM built an 85-78 lead after Beeninga sank a two free throws with 1:00 to play. That capped the game-changing run. Beeninga finished with 14 points. The Dragons had four players score in double digits.

"That was a huge win for us," Baumgartner said. "It's great to get a win because we're building as a team. We're young. We're learning."

The Dragons trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half before they rallied into the lead early in the second half. Minot State pushed its lead back to double digits again in the second half before MSUM found its offensive groove late in the game.

"Offensively, we're still trying to figure out who we are," said Dragon head coach Chad Walthall. "And in the process, we've got to play games. And so while you're trying to figure out who you are, the offense can look real choppy. And then when it's choppy, it can affect confidence."

The 6-foot-4 Baumgartner shot 69 percent (9 of 13) from the field. He also shot 83 percent (5 of 6) from 3-point range, adding five rebounds and five assists.

"He's a heck of a freshman," Walthall said. "He was fantastic again."



MINOT STATE (5-9, 0-5 NSIC): Cody 6-9 3-4 15, Aluyi 4-7 1-2 10, Beisch 5-12 1-1 13, Akibo 9-16 1-2 23, Rothstein 2-2 0-2 5, Dwyer 4-5 0-0 8, Jeffries 4-6 0-0 9, Cucovic 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 35-58 6-11 86.

MSUM (8-5, 2-3): Beeninga 5-12 4-4 14, Coad 4-10 4-4 13, Sem 1-5 3-4 5, Baumgartner 9-13 5-8 28, Bergh 2-4 0-0 5, Irsfeld 2-6 4-4 8, Bussman 1-4 0-0 3, Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Park 5-9 4-4 15. Totals 29-65 24-28 91.

Half: Minot 44, MSUM 39. 3-point goals: Minot 10-17 (Cody 0-1, Aluyi 1-2, Beisch 2-4, Akibo 4-7, Rothstein 1-1, Jeffries 1-1, Cucovic 1-1), MSUM 9-19 (Beeninga 0-1, Coad 1-3, Sem 0-2, Baumgartner 5-6, Bergh 1-2, Irsfeld 0-2, Bussman 1-2, Park 1-1). Total fouls: Minot 22, MSUM 12. Rebounds: Minot 35 (Dwyer 8), MSUM 29 (Coad 7). Assists: Minot 22 (Cody 13), MSUM 14 (Baumgartner 5). Turnovers: Minot 17 (Beisch 4), MSUM 6 (Baumgartner 2).