The Men’s Basketball team gets hyped up in the huddle before the big game. Photo courtesy of Kylie Macziewski
Coming into the past weekend the Huskies basketball team was on thin ice. With the upcoming series against Minnesota Duluth, it was a give-all or go-home situation. With the seeding of the NSIC tournament in 2021, only the top four teams in the North would make the postseason. The Huskies were already sitting around number four, so a bad weekend could put an end to their season.
Minnesota Duluth was sitting at number five in the conference so they would be giving it their all in chance of making the postseason. To do this though, they’d have to sweep the Huskies – as a split wouldn’t be enough. No matter the outcome, these games were going to be good.
Friday night in Halenbeck Hall you could just feel the electricity in the air. Both teams were hyped up and ready to go with tip-off at 6 p.m..
Unfortunately, it was the Bulldogs who would have the hot start in this game. UMD was shooting an average of about 55% from both the field and for three’s, which would give them the dominant start they were looking for. St. Cloud was struggling which making baskets. In the first half, they only made two of thirteen three’s, not a good stat. After a first half plagued by shooting woes, UMD would take the lead 43-28.
The Huskies definitely had to rally in the second half if they wanted a realistic chance on winning the game. SCSU would rally quite a bit in this period, improving on their defense against the Bulldogs. UMD would only score 30 points in the last twenty minutes. The Huskies had more energy in this half, but their offense just wasn’t there. Again, they shot a mere 44% from the field and only two of eleven three-points. After an attempted-rally by SCSU, it just wouldn’t be enough, and Duluth would clinch game one, 70-63.
Part of the reason why UMD did so well in this game is because they shut down Anthony Roberts. The star player for SCSU only scored a mere 13 points, which still was the team high for the game though. Caleb Donaldson tacked on another 12 for the team, while Josh Tomasi had 11. Ryan Bagley came in clutch with a double-double of 11 points and ten rebounds.
The Huskies were literally playing for their lives now in this game. If they lost, their season would be over, and Duluth would overtake the fourth place spot. Everything was on the line in this game.
The whole game was pretty much consistent for both teams. UMD looked pretty average most of the game, while the Huskies definitely got their hustle on and fixed their shooting troubles from the night before. The first half had the Huskies edge Duluth 43-36, but that wasn’t enough to seal the deal quite yet.
The second half was very consistent with the first. Between both halves, UMD shot about 48% from the paint and 34% for three’s. It was a decent stat, but not as good as St. Cloud, who was shooting about 60% and 55%, respectively and comparatively. The last few minutes of the game the Bulldogs really tried hard to rally, but it wasn’t enough. The Huskies wanted to play in the postseason and you could tell. They would win this game and clinch their ticket to the NSIC tournament with a 91-86 victory.
Anthony Roberts may have had a mediocre Friday night, but boy was he spectacular on Saturday. 29 points and 12 rebounds got Roberts the double-double to help secure the win. Helping him out was Caleb Donaldson with 20 points, and Matthew Willert and Josh Tomasi with 14 a piece.
Looking Forward to Postseason Play
After a big victory against UMD, St. Cloud State is qualified for the NSIC Tournament. They’ll be heading into the tournament as the #4 seed in the North, just barely scraping by Duluth who was #5.
After the end of the regular season, it was announced that Anthony Roberts is honored as a part of the 1st team all-conference, which is huge. He leads the team in points this season at 299, and a 21.4 ppg avg. Caleb Donaldson also received the honor of all-conference honorable mention.
Up next for the Huskies is the first round of the NSIC tournament. Starting the team off, they’ll be taking on Wayne State College on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Sioux Falls. It’ll be a tough game, considering the Wildcats are the #1 team in the South. If the Huskies are able to pull of the upset, they’ll play Saturday at 7 p.m. against the winner of MSU-Moorhead and MSU-Mankato.
The Huskies may be a little inconsistent in their game this year, but they’ve proved they can play with the best of teams and that they can come in clutch when it’s needed. It’s up to the team to do the best they can, and we’ll just have to wait and see how far they’ll go.
Sydney is a Mass Communications major with a focus in Creative Media Production and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric Studies and will be graduating in Spring of 2021. Sydney is UTVS News Director and the music director at KVSC. She is also a nationally qualified speaker on the speech and debate team. In her free time she loves to play music, watch SCSU hockey games, and play dorky video games with her friends. Connect with her on social media @sydneyisawolf.