No. 9-ranked Dragons power past St. Cloud State on senior night
MOORHEAD - Minnesota State Moorhead senior Prescott Williams was happy to have dinner plans for after Saturday's game at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. Williams scored eight points, dished out five assists and grabbed four rebounds, helping the No. 9-ra...
MOORHEAD – Minnesota State Moorhead senior Prescott Williams was happy to have dinner plans for after Saturday’s game at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.
Williams scored eight points, dished out five assists and grabbed four rebounds, helping the No. 9-ranked Dragons pull away late for a 94-76 victory against St. Cloud State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball before 1,349 fans on senior night.
“It’s nice to be able to go out to eat with your parents after the game,” Williams said with smile.
Williams, from Akron, Ohio, had his parents, Frank and Rene Williams, watching from the stands Saturday. Friday and Saturday marked the first two times Williams’ parents have attended Prescott’s home games since he joined the MSUM program prior to last season.
“It’s great to have my parents come up,” added Williams, who was honored before the game with fellow seniors Jordan Riewer and Urbane Bingham.
“You don’t want to make any game bigger than any other game, but it is kind of special because you do have some parents here for the first time,” Dragons head coach Chad Walthall said of senior night. “You want them to perform well, and you want them to do well for their families. I’m really honored to coach them.”
The Dragons (27-2, 18-2 NSIC) have won two consecutive games. They clinched the North Division title with Friday’s win against Minnesota-Duluth, and completed the weekend sweep Saturday. This senior class has helped MSUM earn back-to-back division titles. Prior to that, the Dragons hadn’t won a conference championship since 1982.
“They’ve been part of titles that we haven’t had for a long time, and that’s pretty unique,” Walthall said. “The biggest thing is they’re about team.”
St. Cloud State tied the game early in the second half on two occasions before the Dragons started to methodically take control. MSUM took the lead for good after junior guard Tyler Vaughan scored a 3-point play that gave his team a 52-49 lead with 16 minutes, 29 seconds in the second half. Vaughan finished with a season-high 23 points.
Less than two minutes later, the Dragons started an 11-3 run that pushed the lead to nine points. Riewer capped that rally with a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave MSUM a 66-57 lead with 11:21 remaining
“We just stuck together,” said Riewer, who had 20 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. “That’s what we’ve done all year.”
Riewer scored 13 of his points in the second half with the Dragons building a lead as big as 20 points in the final minutes. Williams capped his scoring, draining a 3-pointer from the left wing that gave MSUM an 86-68 lead with 3:18 to play.
“I like how we played defense,” Williams said. “For us to respond in the second half and get this win was big for us.”
St. Cloud State (16-10, 12-8) had its five-game winning streak snapped. Junior guard Jordan Poydras paced the Huskies with 20 points on 6-for-20 shooting from the field.
“They competed really hard,” Walthall said of the Huskies. “We responded to their energy. That was key. I thought they were playing with a little more energy early in the game.”
The Dragons close out the regular season with games at Bemidji State and Minnesota-Crookston next weekend. Having earned the No. 1 seed from the North Division, MSUM is set to host an NSIC tournament first-round game on Feb. 25.
“We’ve got a lot more basketball to play,” Walthall said.
ST. CLOUD STATE (16-10, 12-8 NSIC): Poydras 6-20 4-5 20, Alcantara 3-8 0-0 8, Stone 3-11 3-4 12, Niehaus 4-8 0-0 11, Fort 2-3 4-4 8, Cegers 6-12 1-2 14, Foley 1-2 1-1 3, Averkamp 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-66 13-16 76.
MSUM (27-2, 18-2): Riewer 7-12 3-4 20, Williams 3-4 1-3 8, Lien 6-10 2-3 16, Vaughan 8-13 5-5 23, Sevlie 6-14 3-5 15, Songolo 4-6 2-2 12, Kretchman 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-1 0-1 0, Bingham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-60 16-23 94.
Half: MSUM 45, SCSU 40. 3-point goals: SCSU 13-32 (Poydras 4-11, Alcantara 2-4, Stone 3-6, Niehaus 3-7, Cegers 1-2, Foley 0-1, Smith 0-1), MSUM 10-20 (Riewer 3-6, Williams 1-1, Lien 2-5, Vaughan 2-6, Songolo 2-2). Total fouls: SCSU 20, MSUM 15. Rebounds: SCSU 34 (Alcantara 12), MSUM 36 (Riewer 8). Assists: SCSU 19 (Poydras 8), MSUM 22 (Riewer 9). Steals: SCSU 3 (three players with 1), MSUM 5 (Riewer 2). Turnovers: SCSU 12 (Poydras 3, Fort 3), MSUM 8 (Songolo 3). A-1,349.