Originally published: December 1, 2014
MARSHALL-SMSU redshirt freshman MJ Delmore has made it a habit of providing a spark off the bench for the Mustangs this season.
The Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin native scored 18 points and made four of six three pointers in SMSU’s 78-58 win over Northern Michigan on Saturday.
His 18 points were a career high.
Delmore entered the game for the first time with the team trailing by two. His first shot of the night ended a 1-9 start from the field for the Mustangs.
“We were able to play MJ with Drew [Osmundson] a little more tonight, which provided him some open opportunities to catch and shoot,” said SMSU coach Brad Bigler. “He took advantage of the moment, and showed what he’s capable of doing.”
Delmore was not the lone Mustang who was hot from long range. As a team, the Mustangs connected on 12 3’s in 20 attempts.
Bigler said that the hot shooting also opens things up inside for centers Mitch Weg and Carter Kirk.
“We’re going to probably shoot more 3’s this year.,” Bigler said. “When that’s the case, for Mitch and Carter, that helps their games. Those long rebounds and rebounds that are high where they can be physical. We want to make sure we give them opportunities to make those plays.”
The Mustangs were strong on the glass, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and finishing with a 42-35 rebound advantage over NMU.
One point of emphasis for SMSU against NMU was to limit turnovers.
The Mustangs committed just five turnovers in the game.
Through the team’s first five games, the team’s lowest turnover total was 11. SMSU was coming off a 14-turnover performance the previous night versus Michigan Tech.
“[Against Michigan Tech], we let them play a little bit and we had a lot of turnovers,” Bigler said. “Coming into tonight, it was more about structure and being organized, and I thought the guys handled it well, executed well and the fewer turnovers was the result.”
With the win, the Mustangs conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule at 4-2.
They will open up conference play Tuesday night at home against Sioux Falls. Friday and Saturday, Winona State and Upper Iowa come to town.
Bigler knows that this will be a tough test for his team.
“This week is going to be a grind. Three great opponents, all three of them are going to be big games, with heated moments and a lot of adversity. Our guys will have to be ready to go.”