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Dragons use big first half to knock off Mayville State in nonconference play

MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead played a sharp first 20 minutes Monday, Dec. 19, at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. That stellar start sparked the Dragons to an 81-59 victory against Mayville State in nonconference men's basketball."I thought it was a ...

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MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead played a sharp first 20 minutes Monday, Dec. 19, at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. That stellar start sparked the Dragons to an 81-59 victory against Mayville State in nonconference men's basketball.

"I thought it was a great first half," Dragons head coach Chad Walthall said. "I was really happy and pleased with the way we played."

The Dragons (10-2) rebounded from a 118-117 double overtime home loss against Northern State last Saturday. Monday's game counted as an exhibition game for Mayville State.

Dragons junior guard Tanner Kretchman liked the way the Dragons responded after the tough weekend loss against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rival Northern State.

"We learned from it, yeah it hurt a little bit, but now we're moving forward," said Kretchman, who scored 10 points and had a game-high seven assists against the Comets. "I think we came out with good energy in the first half. We took care of the basketball."

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The Dragons shot 59 percent (17 of 29) from the field in the first half to build a 30-point halftime lead. MSUM used a 23-3 run to push its lead to 27 points. Senior guard Jon Doss scored eight points during that rally, including a 3-pointer from the left wing.

Dragons freshman Evan Hines capped the surge, sinking an 18-foot jumper that gave MSUM a 38-11 lead with 6 minutes, 53 seconds to play until halftime.

Doss scored 16 points in the first 20 minutes, including 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range and 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line.

"Jon shot the ball really well in the first half," Walthall said.

The Dragons led by as many as 34 points in the opening half with five different players scoring at least eight points before halftime. They had three turnovers in the first half and limited Mayville State to 26 percent (9 of 35) shooting from the field.

"We were able to get easy shots and get into an easy flow of the game," Kretchman said.

Walthall didn't think his team was sharp in the second half, committing 11 turnovers over the final 20 minutes. The Comets scored 12 consecutive points during one stretch. Mayville State freshman guard Austin Lee capped that rally with a 3-pointer that cut the Dragons lead to 64-43 with 9:58 remaining.

MSUM led by as many as 34 points multiple times earlier in the second half before the Comets started to cut into the lead.

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"In the second half, I thought we got pretty loose with the basketball," Kretchman said.

"I think some of our young guys, I'm sure they with they would have played a little bit better," Walthall said. "They haven't been in there a whole lot. ... They'll learn and they'll get better."

Mayville State outscored the Dragons 35-27 after halftime. MSUM shot 37 percent (11 of 30) from the field in the second half.

The Dragons next play on Dec. 30 when they host Minnesota State-Mankato in conference play.

"It wasn't very pretty in the second half, but it's a nice win for us going into Christmas break," Walthall said. "I think it's important that (our guys) understand that every game is a chance to compete."

MAYVILLE STATE (6-5): Eaton 0-2 0-0 0, Droog 1-5 0-0 2, Maranan 1-8 2-2 5, Slaba 0-4 0-0 0, Lee 3-9 0-0 9, C. Quinn 3-8 0-0 8, Lindgren 2-4 0-0 5, Lockett 0-0 0-0 0, A. Quinn 2-8 0-0 4, DeWitt 1-1 0-0 3, Pfau 1-3 0-0 2, Schultz 1-1 0-0 2, Foulds 1-3 0-0 3, Staebler 3-7 0-0 6, Cooper 4-8 2-4 10. Totals 23-71 4-6 59.

MSUM (10-2): Ayob 5-10 0-0 12, Nelson 5-7 0-0 10, Kretchman 3-5 3-4 10, Doss 3-7 7-7 16, Lien 2-6 2-2 6, Beeninga 2-4 0-0 4, Olson 0-3 0-0 0, Anderson 2-5 0-0 4, Bussman 1-2 0-1 2, Hines 4-5 0-0 11, Dorow 0-1 2-2 2, Puondak 0-0 0-0 0, Park 1-4 2-4 4. Totals 28-59 16-20 81.

Half: MSUM 54, Mayville 24. 3-point goals: Mayville 9-31 (Eaton 0-1, Maranan 1-3, Slaba 0-2, Lee 3-7, C. Quinn 2-7, Lindgren 1-3, A. Quinn 0-4, DeWitt 1-1, Pfau 0-1, Foulds 1-2), MSUM 9-27 (Ayob 2-7, Kretchman 1-3, Doss 3-5, Lien 0-2, Beeninga 0-2, Olson 0-2, Anderson 0-2, Hines 3-4). Total fouls: Mayville 19, MSUM 9. Rebounds: Mayville 37 (Droog 6, C. Quinn 6), MSUM 44 (Nelson 7). Assists: Mayville 12 (four players with 2), MSUM 17 (Kretchman 7). Steals: Mayville 10 (A. Quinn 3), MSUM 6 (six players with 1). Turnovers: Mayville 13, MSUM 14.

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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