Originally Published: October 23, 2008
All three basketball programs at Southwest Minnesota State University kicked off their seasons on Thursday at the annual Late Night Show, which gave fans an opportunity to get their first look at each team. The men’s, women’s and wheelchair basketball teams each held a scrimmage. Each team also had individuals who participated in various contests throughout the evening.
After the team introductions, the wheelchair basketball team held the first scrimmage of the night. The Rolling Mustangs are led by senior captains Evan Thorn and Nathan Carruth, and are coached by co-head coaches Lew Shaver and Paul Weiland. Their season begins Nov. 8 with two home games against Wisconsin-Whitewater. The first game starts at 10 a.m. with the second game at 1 p.m., both in the PE Gym. Over the course of the season, the Rolling Mustangs will travel over 7,500 miles to games in five different states.
Up next was the women’s basketball team. The Mustangs are coached by Mike Jewett, who is entering his third season as the head women’s basketball coach. The team finished at 12-16 overall and 7-11 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last year. Most of last year’s team is back, only losing Laura VanOverbeke to graduation. Their season begins Oct. 31 when they travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. for three games in three days at the Disney East Coast Tip-Off Classic.
The three-point contest was next. In the competition between wheelchair basketball seniors Carruth and Thorn, Carruth finally won in the second tiebreaker round. In the competition for bragging rights between the men’s and women’s basketball teams, senior Abby Oakland defeated senior Andy Beilke for her second win in as many years.
Speaking of Beilke, he is one of three seniors on this year’s edition of the men’s basketball team. Joining him are seniors Ross DeMasi and Ryan Krome. Last year, the Mustangs finished with a record of 17-12, narrowly missing a playoff berth. SMSU will open up the year in Anaheim, Calif. at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic Nov. 7-9. Before that, they will play a home exhibition game Oct. 31 against St. Olaf College and travel to face South Dakota State University Nov. 3 in Brookings, S.D.
The highlight of the evening was the dunk contest. The contestants were junior Kevin Andrews, redshirt freshman Kevin Smith, freshman Lavione West and DeMasi. Andrews was the winner in last year’s competition and the first dunk he attempted made him look like he practiced all offseason. He completed the dunk with the help of junior teammate Andrew Peschong, who “headed” the ball soccer-style off the backboard to Andrews for the assist. For his second dunk, Andrews attempted to dunk by going over 6’10” junior teammate Nick Dale, who lifted him towards the rim for the slam.
However, the spotlight during the contest was on West, who did not disappoint. He won the dunk contest with nothing lower than a perfect score of 30. Perhaps his most impressive dunk was when he jumped over teammates Krome and Beilke, who were standing in front of the rim.
For more information on the three basketball teams represented at the Late Night Show, go to http://www.SMSUMustangs.com.