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Bergstraser guides Dragons men to NSIC victory in Nemzek debut as head coach

Minnesota State Moorhead scored 51 points in the first half that helped catapult the Dragons men to victory Thursday night against Minot State.

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Minnesota State Moorhead's Jaden Stanley-Williams goes up for two against Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — The first home game for first-year Minnesota State Moorhead head coach Tom Bergstraser proved to be memorable.

MSUM shot nearly 60% from the field in the opening 20 minutes and built a 25-point halftime lead.

The Dragons scored 51 points in the first half to spark an 84-63 victory against Minot State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball Thursday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“I didn’t realize it until we had our first pregame meeting, this was my first time official game head coaching," said Bergstraser, who was a Dragons assistant coach prior to taking over for Chad Walthall this past offseason. "In the end, it was just another game for us to compete against somebody else and find a way to improve.”

MSUM (6-2, 1-1 NSIC) played its first seven games away from home. The Dragons have won three consecutive games.

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“The energy that our fans bring and the energy we have in our gym is amazing," said Dragons forward Jaden Stanley-Williams. "I love playing at home. You’ve kind of got to bring it when you’re at home.”

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Minnesota State Moorhead's Gavin Baumgartner stuffs against Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Stanley-Williams finished with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor.

“You could tell the guys have a little more juice and you want that no matter what the game is, but we were all November away from this place," Bergstraser said. “It was fun for me to play in front of the home crowd as a head coach.”

Stanley-Williams helped fuel a stellar first half for the Dragons, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. The 6-foot-7 Stanley-Williams was 3 of 4 from beyond the 3-point arc in the opening half. His 3-point play gave MSUM a 38-20 lead with 4:49 to play until halftime.

“He’s just such a well-balanced player," Bergstraser said. “He’s smart and I hope he keeps shooting the 3 the way he has. He’s such a fun guy to coach.”

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Minnesota State Moorhead's Jaden Stanley-Williams stuffs on a steal from Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

The Dragons scored the final six points of the first half to take a 25-point lead into halftime. Senior guard Gavin Baumgartner capped that surge with 3-pointer for a 51-26 lead at the halftime buzzer.

MSUM shot 59% (19 of 32) from the floor and 50% (7 of 14) from 3-point range in the first half.

The Dragons lead led by as many as 27 points in the second half and didn't let their lead dip below 16 points over the final 20 minutes. Senior guard Lorenzo McGhee added 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor for MSUM.

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The Dragons continue NSIC play at 4 p.m. Saturday at the University or Mary in Bismarck.

“I was able to provide that spark tonight and we’ve got plenty of other guys who can provide that spark so it’s a blessing to have a team like this," Stanley-Williams said.

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Minnesota State Moorhead's Jacob Beeninga drives against Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

MINOT STATE (3-3, 1-1 NSIC): Hollenbeck 1-5 0-0 2, Sisk 0-0 0-0 0, Dunfee 3-7 0-0 7, Broadway 1-6 1-2 3, Gunville 3-6 0-0 8, Van De Griend 5-5 0-0 10, Cook 3-5 2-2 9, Gichaba 3-7 0-1 6, Jok 5-8 1-1 13, Hedberg 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 26-52 4-6 63.

MSUM (6-2, 1-1): Stanley-Williams 6-9 3-3 18, Zimmer 2-2 2-4 6, McGhee 7-9 1-4 16, J. Beeninga 5-18 0-1 11, Baumgartner 3-5 1-2 8, Kinsey 0-0 0-0 0, Kaiser 1-4 2-2 5, Myren 4-6 4-5 12, Hagen 1-1 0-0 3, E. Beeninga 0-0 1-2 1, Hektner 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Fazio 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 30-56 8-20 84.

Half: Moorhead 51, Minot 26. 3-point goals: 7-16 (Hollenbeck 0-1, Dunfee 1-1, Broadway 0-1, Gunville 2-5, Cook 1-3, Jok 2-3, Hedberg 1-2), Moorhead 8-20 (Stanley-Williams 3-4, McGhee 1-3, J. Beeninga 1-9, Baumgartner 1-1, Kaiser 1-1, Hagen 1-1, Johnson 0-1). Total fouls: Minot 21, Moorhead 10. Rebounds: Minot 24 (Van De Griend 7), Moorhead 27 (J. Beeninga 8). Assists: Minot 12 (Dunfee 3), Moorhead 12 (J. Beeninga 3, Baumgartner 3). Turnovers: Minot 19, Moorhead 12.

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Minnesota State Moorhead's Jacob Beeninga goes up for two against Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Minnesota State Moorhead's Lorenzo McGhee passes against Minot State during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Minnesota State Moorhead's Trever Kaiser, left, reaches for a loose ball with Minot State’s Jaxon Gunville during their men's basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

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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