MARYVILLE, MO. – Ian Smith scored 22 points, Logan Doyle 21 and DJ Pollard 19 as Northern State defeated Minnesota State Mankato 90-83 in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Central Regional men’s basketball tournament.
This was the third win for the Wolves (34-3) over the Mavericks this season. Northern State beat MSU Mankato 87-84 during the regular season and 79-78 in the NSIC tournament. This latest victory advances Northern State to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight starting Tuesday at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Carlos Anderson led the Mavericks (24-10) with 21 points; three teammates had between 11 and 14 points.
The Wolves, whose biggest lead was 10 points with 11 seconds left, led for all but 4 minutes, 53 seconds. Northern State shot 58.8 percent led by Doyle, a 6-8 senior forward from Alexandria, Minn., who was an efficient 7-for-9 from the field. He also was 7-for-10 at the foul line and had seven rebounds off the bench.
The Mavericks, who shot 50 percent, got within 76-74 with 3:12 left when Chris Kendrix made one of two free throws.
But the Wolves went on an 8-2 run to open an 84-76 lead. Doyle’s layup began that run and Northern State’s six other points came on free throws.
Consecutive layups by Charlie Brown and Kendrix got the Mavericks within 84-80 with 40 seconds to play but they got no closer.
The Mavericks started fouling and Northern State made six of eight free throws.
Northern State of Aberdeen, S.D., is ranked No. 6 in the NABC poll this week. The Wolves won the NSIC overall and Northern Division titles this season under Paul Sather, who was named the NSIC coach of the year. It was their first overall title since 2002-03 and the first division title in program history.
North Texas (15-17) will play South Dakota (26-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Vermillion, S.D., in the College Basketball Invitational. It will be their first meeting ever.