After losing two heart breakers to the top teams in the conference, Northern State and MSU-Moorhead, the Huskies knew they could compete with the best, refusing to hang their heads after the tough losses.
“I’m old, but I’m good,” said senior Scottie Stone as he was preparing for Wednesday’s game.
It looked dim for the Huskies as soon as the game tipped off. St. Cloud State shot a dull 36.7 percent from the field and nothing seemed to be going right. Driving to the bucket was a lost cause, turnovers, and holes in the defense all caused major problems for SCSU, also translated to the offensive side.
“We got to stop letting our offense affect our defense,” said sophomore Gage Davis.
Not to mention, the refereeing went from “ticky-tack” to a “let them play” style and then back to “ticky-tack.” But with the Huskies down seven with zero time on the clock, Wayne State’s Tony Bonner got called for a technical foul to send it to halftime with SCSU only down five at this point, which seemed like the tides were turning.
When the Huskies came out of the locker room in the second half, it seemed like a whole different team. The first 10 minutes of the second half went back and forth between both teams. After that 10-minute mark hit, Stone stepped up and scored eight straight points for the Huskies. That’s when the takeover began, but who stepped up for the Huskies is different from what we’ve seen before.
Senior Mark Hall and Jon Averkamp carried the offensive load, each scoring a team-high 19 points. Hall gave the Huskies the perimeter threat and jump shot they desperately needed with Scotty Stone and Gage Davis struggling.
“When Mark is clicking, it definitely takes a big load off, then we don’t have to call so many screens for me and Scotty and gives us more opportunities for easy buckets … When Mark, Scottie, and me are all clicking. We are a hard team to stop,” said Gage Davis.
While Hall was getting the buckets outside of the paint, Jon Averkamp took it upon himself to step up and get hard buckets in the paint and big defensive stops.
“He provides toughness for our team… He did a good job defensively jamming things up in the paint… I was really happy on both ends of the floor with Jonny,” said Coach Matt Reimer.
“He was able to make some big shots and big plays that we really needed,” said senior Mark Hall.
SCSU looked like a totally different team in the second half shooting a brilliant 66.7 percent from the field and dominating every other stat line as well. The Huskies will move on to the second round of the NSIC tournament and face the Upper Iowa Peacocks. The game will be played on Sunday at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.