One night after their worst offensive showing of the season, the University of Mary men’s basketball team had its best on the way to a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over Augustana on Saturday.
Freshman guard Trever Kaiser had a career night with a team-high 21 points to lead the Marauders to a 101-87 win over the Vikings. Kaiser, who came in averaging 3.1 points, had 19 points in the first half. His career best had been 10 points on two occasions.
“Coach just said go out and play hard and my teammates were finding me all night,” Kaiser said. “I felt good in warmups and my teammates were cheering me on all night long.”
They did more than that. After shooting 33 percent the previous game, the Marauders shot 58 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range (14-28) and made 19 of 21 free throws.
Kaiser was one of five players in double figures. Jaylan White had 20 points, Connor Hellebust had 18, Matthew Kreklow 16 and Tom Kubank 13.
“It was a matter of our guys taking pride,” said U-Mary coach Joe Kittell, who picked up his first win against the Vikings. “We were a little angry about how we played (in Friday’s loss to Wayne State) and we came out and showed that we are a pretty good team. I’m guessing this is the first time that Mary has swept Augustana.”
U-Mary’s women beat the Vikings for the first time in eight years earlier.
Kaiser was scoreless in Friday’s 67-48 loss – U-Mary’s lowest scoring game of the season. His blistering first half on Saturday (4-of-6 on 3-pointers; 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line) helped the Marauders to their highest point total of the season. U-Mary scored 100 against Minnesota Duluth in a game that took three overtimes. The highest previous total in regulation was 94-44 against Yellowstone Christian.
White’s 3-pointer with 1:19 left in the half gave U-Mary a 49-39 lead. That was one more point than the Marauders had scored the previous night.
Kaiser had 19 points in the first half, helping the Marauders outscore Augustana 22-4 over the last 5:02. They closed the half on a 13-0 run, giving them a 52-39 lead.
Kittell praised Kaiser and sophomore guard Hellebust for their nights.
“Trever knows how to put the ball in the basket,” Kittell said. “He struggled the first semester but he’s worked his way through it. He and Connor are like twin brothers, they put so much time into it. Connor hasn’t had a night like this at home for us. He hasn’t had a Bismarck game like this.”
U-Mary picked up in the second half where it left off in the first scoring on seven straight possessions to go up 67-47 with 15 minutes left.
Augustana made a second-half run, getting as close as six points down the stretch. A.J. Plutzuweit, who led all scorers with 23 points, made two free throws with 4:12 left to make it 82-76.
White countered with five straight points to give U-Mary some breathing room and the last 1:35 was a U-Mary parade to the free throw line. Five different players went a combined 12-for-13 from the line to ice the game.
Matt Cartwright scored the Vikings’ last five points to finish with 20 points. Michael Schaefer and Trevor Hanson had 13 points apiece.