Riewer, Dragons defeat Jimmies in men's basketball

Minnesota State Moorhead’s Aaron Lien
Minnesota State Moorhead’s Aaron Lien slams the ball during a nonconference men’s basketball game against the University of Jamestown on Sunday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse in Moorhead David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD – Minnesota State Moorhead sank six 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes Sunday afternoon at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

That early long-range flurry vaulted the Dragons to a double-digit lead less than nine minutes into the game. MSUM didn’t see its lead dip into single digits in the final 29 minutes of an 88-71 victory against the University of Jamestown in nonconference men’s basketball.
Ranked No. 19 in the latest NCAA Division II coaches poll, the Dragons (14-1) have lost only one game heading in their holiday break. MSUM doesn’t play again until Jan. 2 when it hosts Upper Iowa in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game.
“At this point, you have to be pleased,” Dragons head coach Chad Walthall said. “But we all realize there is such a long way to go. … I think the main thing is to enjoy the break and decompress a little bit.”
The game counted as an exhibition for the University of Jamestown, an NAIA team that plays in the North Star Athletic Association. The Jimmies (8-5) don’t play their next game until Jan. 3.
“I thought we battled very well in the second half,” Jimmies head coach Alan Magnani said. “Moorhead is a quality team. There is no doubt about it. They can hit you with a lot of different things. … Playing this competition and playing how we did today are things that will pay off for us.”

Highlights from the game

The Dragons overcame an early one-point deficit with a string of 12 consecutive points. Junior guard Ngijol Songolo capped that run with a 3-pointer that gave MSUM a 19-8 lead with 11 minutes, 29 seconds in the first half.
Minutes later, the Dragons scored seven consecutive points to push their lead into double digits for good. Songolo capped that rally with a
3-pointer that gave MSUM a
29-13 lead with 8:19 remaining in the half.
“My teammates were just finding me and I happened to hit them,” Songolo said. “I was feeling good in warmups and it carried over.”
Songolo scored 12 points off the bench on 4-for-6 shooting from the 3-point line. Songolo tied a career high with 19 points in a 106-86 victory against Northern State on Saturday night.
“We’re going to need that,” Walthall said of that bench scoring. “Ngijol is more than capable. He’s what I call a 50-50 guy, he can shoot it and he can drive it. He’s also one of our best defenders.”
The Dragons pushed their lead to 54-33 against the Jimmies after senior Jordan Riewer sank a 3-pointer with 15:40 remaining in the second half. That was MSUM’s largest lead.

The University of Jamestown, however, rallied over the next seven minutes. The Jimmies hit four 3-pointers during that stretch. They cut the Dragons lead to 65-55 after freshman forward Sam Johnson drained a 3-pointer with 8:40 remaining. Johnson added a tip-in moments later that cut the lead to 67-57 with 7:56 to play.


“To cut it to 10 and have some opportunities to really get back into the game in the second half, I think speaks a lot for our guys and how we played,” Magnani said. “Our guys played well at times.”
After Johnson’s tip-in, the Dragons countered with the next nine points. Riewer scored seven points during that stretch, including two technical foul shots that gave MSUM a 76-57 lead with 6:12 remaining. The 6-foot-2 guard finished with a game-high 20 points.
“I thought we played well for about 25 of the 40 minutes, maybe even 30,” Wathall said. “When we hit a lull, it really seemed like we hit a lull.”
Songolo liked the way the Dragons responded Sunday after coming off a conference game Saturday night.
“This game could be seen as like a trap game … it’s right before break,” Songolo said. “We tried to come out and handle business.”

JAMESTOWN (8-5): Tucker 5-17 5-5 17, Newton 3-9 3-4 11, Hagler 1-5 0-0 3, Stoicoviciu 3-9 0-0 8, Havron 5-11 2-2 12, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 2-4 0-0 5, Davis 2-5 0-0 4, Smith 3-4 5-6 11. Totals 24-65 15-17 71.
MSUM (14-1): Riewer 5-10 8-9 20, Williams 3-4 0-2 6, Lien 3-9 4-4 11, Vaughan 5-12 0-0 13, Sevlie 1-2 0-0 2, Songolo 4-7 0-0 12, Kretchman 3-6 3-4 10, Holt 0-0 2-2 2, Nelson 2-2 0-0 5, Bingham 1-4 4-4 7. Totals 27-56 21-25 88.
Half: MSUM 44, UJ 27. 3-point goals: UJ 8-26 (Tucker 2-8, Newton 2-8, Hagler 1-3, Stoicoviciu 2-3, Johnson 1-3, Davis 0-1), MSUM 13-33 (Riewer 2-5, Williams 0-1, Lien 1-6, Vaughan 3-9, Sevlie 0-1, Songolo 4-6, Kretchman 1-3, Nelson 1-1, Bingham 1-1). Total fouls: UJ 19, MSUM 13. Technical foul: Jamestown bench. Rebounds: UJ 40 (Tucker 6, Newton 6), MSUM 33 (Lien 6). Assists: UJ 9 (three players with 2), MSUM 17 (Riewer 7). Steals: UJ 3 (Johnson 2), MSUM 6 (Williams 2, Bingham 2). Turnovers: UJ 9 (Tucker 3, Hagler 3), MSUM 6 (Williams 2, Songolo 2). A-379.

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local