MARYVILLE, MO. – Charlie Brown and Chris Kendrix each had 19 points and eighth-seeded Minnesota State Mankato held off fourth-seeded Southwest Minnesota State 74-70 Sunday in the second of two all-NSIC Central Regional semifinals in the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament.
Jamal Nixon hit the go-ahead layup for the Mavericks (24-9) with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left after the Mustangs (25-9), who trailed most of the second half, tied the score at 64-64. Brown hit a jumper with 2:03 to go for a four-point lead, and the Mavericks, who beat tournament host and top seed Northwest Missouri State on Saturday, made six free throws to prevail.
“Our guys the last couple nights have just been tougher,” Minnesota State coach Matt Margenthaler said.
Carter Kirk had 23 points for Southwest Minnesota State, while Taylor Schafer had 13 points and Ryan Bruggeman 12 points and 11 assists.
The Mavs play Northern State on Tuesday. The Wolves won both matchups this season, 87-84 in Mankato on Dec. 31 and 79-78 in the NSIC semifinals Feb. 26 in Sioux Falls. Tuesday’s winner will return to the Sanford Pentagon on March 20 for the Elite Eight.
Northern State 68, St. Cloud State 61: Darin Peterka hit two big three-pointers late in the game, and the second-seeded Wolves (33-3) rallied to beat the sixth-seeded Huskies (24-9) for their 12th victory in a row.
Peterka’s threes were his only two baskets Sunday. St. Cloud State, which beat Northern State 76-61 at home on Jan. 19, led most of the way, including 55-51 with 5:46 to go.
But Peterka gave his team the lead for good on a three-pointer with 4:46 left, then followed that with another three with 3:18 to play.
Sean Smith’s layup with 53 seconds left got the Huskies within 63-61, but Northern State went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line to close it out.
Logan Doyle scored 14 points to lead the Wolves. Smith scored 21 points and Jon Averkamp and Gage Davis each had 14 for the Huskies.