The Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs men’s basketball team opened their conference season on Saturday as they faced the Mavericks of Minnesota State University. The Mustangs went into the game ranked 24th in the national polls, while the Mavericks came in ranked eighth. This was the first time that two Top 25 teams played each other in the R/A Facility.
Saturday night’s contest had a little bit of everything. A bloody chin, a ripped jersey but overall a hard-fought physical game between two of the best teams in the country. However, the Mustangs just could not slow down the high-powered Maverick attack, as MSU defeated SMSU 93-84. After the loss, the Mustangs fall to a record of 6-2 and will likely fall out of the national rankings.
Sophomore forward Taylor Huseby led the Mustang scoring attack with 18 points off the bench in just 15 minutes of play. Juniors Nick Dale, Kevin Andrews and Jon DeRock all added 12 points in the loss. Dale also grabbed 12 on the night, which gave him his first career double-double.
Overall, the Mustangs struggled shooting the ball all night. They finished the game just 40.6 percent from the field, including connecting on only 7 of 20 three-point attempts. Free throws, an area the team has struggled in all season long wasn’t much better at just 60 percent from the charity stripe.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Mustang defense could not slow down the Mavericks offensive arsenal, especially in the second half. In the second half, the Mavericks shot a very impressive 71.4 percent from the field.
The Mustangs will return to the road next weekend with games against Northern State University and the University of Mary on Friday and Saturday. The Mustangs open this season with 10 of their first 12 regular season games away from the friendly confines of the R/A Facility. The Mustangs’ next home action will be over the semester break as Minnesota State University-Moorhead and Minnesota-Crookston will travel to Marshall.