What is 18 times three? It equals one big win for the University of Mary men’s basketball team.
Wyatt Carr, Matt Kreklow and Josh Sipes each scored 18 points on Saturday as the Marauders held off St. Cloud State to post an 85-80 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win at the McDowell Activity Center.
The win was the first of the second half and avenged an 88-56 loss to the Huskies earlier this season that Marauders head coach Joe Kittell called “embarrassing.”
“After last night’s performance, which wasn’t good, our guys wanted to step up and do the right things to win a basketball game tonight,” Kittell said. “They did a lot of them.”
Kreklow was his usual steady self throughout, making 7 of 8 shots from the field and 4 of 6 free throws to go with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. That makes him the school's all-time leader with 109 career blocks.
But it was the others who made the difference. Carr was effective the whole game. He had two of his four 3-pointers in each half and 10 points at halftime.
“What turned it around was our effort and our mindset,” Carr said. “We’ve been in a slump and we don’t like losing at home. Last night we didn’t come out to play and tonight we just decided to go out and win a game.”
Sipes made some clutch shots and scored 14 points in the second half as the Marauders built their lead to 17 points with 11:56 to play. Jaylan White had nine points and Connor Hellebust eight.
“Wyatt and Josh were good and Connor looked like he did early in the year. We need those guys to help us win games,” Kittell said. “We can’t put so much pressure on Jay and Matt.”
Trevon Marshall scored 36 points, but the only other St. Cloud players in double figures were Diamond Onwuka with 11 and Anthony Roberts with 10. It was Marshall’s third straight 30-point game.
“It’s not OK, but we did hold all the 3-point shooters. Tonight we said let’s make it hard on Trevon and take away the threes,” Kittell said. “That was one thing we were willing to give up. Unfortunately we gave up a little more than we wanted."
St. Cloud made just 5 of 15 3-pointers, while U-Mary drained 11 of 19 attempts. U-Mary was 14 for 20 from the line while the Huskies were 11 for 21.
“We knew (Marshall) could hit those mid-range jump shots and said we would live with them if we could keep their shooters off the line,” Carr said. “That’s what we did.”
Marshall carried the Huskies in the first half. The senior guard scored 17 points despite missing his last three shots from the field in the last minute. Kreklow had four free throws and a hit a hook shot from the left baseline with 27 seconds left to give the Marauders a 39-30 lead at halftime.
Kreklow was perfect from the field in the first half making all four of his shots from the field and free throw line for 12 points. Carr added 10 points, while the Marauders shot 56 percent.
U-Mary didn’t give the Huskies a chance to close in after halftime. The Marauders made 6 of 8 shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers to go up 54-38 with 14:49 to play.
The Marauders’ lead grew to 60-43 on two free throws by Trever Kaiser with 12:01 to play.
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The Huskies started cutting into the lead but U-Mary kept making clutch plays. Carr hit a three, Hellebust hit a three and Sipes made back-to-back baskets, including a 3-pointer that made it 75-62 with 4:12 left.
The Huskies then went on a 8-0 run to get within five. The cut it to 83-80 on Marshall’s free throws with 8.4 seconds left but Hellebust went to the line with 7.3 seconds to play and sealed the win with two free throws.
U-Mary had the win Kittell said they needed.
“I thought we were more physical and we were more relentless and we just had a lot of pride. We were fighting for something,” Kittell said. “It was good to not quit and get through a tough night last night and get better today."
St. Cloud St. 80, U-Mary 65
One night after handing Minnesota-Duluth is first conference loss of the women’s basketball season, the University of Mary suffered its first home loss of the season.
Brehna Evans scored all 22 of her points in the second half despite playing in foul trouble and St. Cloud State won its fourth straight road game 80-65 on Saturday at the McDowell Activity Center. The Huskies’ weekend sweep at Minot State and U-Mary moved them into sole possession of third place in the North Division. The top four teams at the conclusion of the regular season will host first-round playoff games.
“They were just a lot better than we were today,” U-Mary coach Rick Neumann said. “We didn’t get the juice we needed out of our home court and conversely we suffered our first loss at home.”
That despite another stellar offensive showing by U-Mary senior Cassie Askvig, who followed up her career-best 36-point effort on Friday with 32 points on Saturday. Lauren Rotunda had 12 points and they were U-Mary’s only double-figure scorer.
The Marauders dropped to 9-1 at home, with much of the blame going to Evans, who was unstoppable after half. She had only one shot in the 8:54 she played in the first half, then hit 8 of 9 shots and 4 of 5 free throws in the second half.
“I’m a fouler,” Evans said. “I’ve been picking up some quick ones. That was tough on my team and I knew I had to get in going in the second half.”
The Huskies’ balance carried the day in the first half as seven players got on the scoreboard, led by Tori Wortz’s eight points. Only four players scored for the Marauders, who went into half trailing 31-23.
“They were running some new sets and there’s no way on a Saturday we’re going to remember 20-something plays so we focused on five,” Neumann said. “Early we took those away and they went to some secondary stuff and we struggled. From a coaching standpoint I didn’t have them prepared to guard all the stuff they were going to see.”
The Marauders watched St. Cloud score the last six points of the half to go up eight points.
Then they watched the Huskies shoot 71 percent in the third quarter and extend the lead despite Askvig’s 16 points. Evans had 11 points in the third quarter and St. Cloud went into the final quarter up 56-47.
Coral Gilette made a 3-pointer and Askvig followed with a basket to cut the Marauder deficit to four points at 56-52 with 9:16 to play. That was to be the Marauders’ high-water mark as the Huskies, who shot 60 percent from the field, responded with a 14-0 run to put the game away.
“We wanted to get this win,” Evans said. “This is a huge. They are an amazing team. We just knew we had to get it done.”
Askvig moved into eighth place on U-Mary’s all-time scoring list on Friday. Her 68 points on the weekend give her 1,485 points.