For the second straight game, the Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball team found itself on the losing end of a close contest, falling to Concordia-St. Paul 67-66 in St. Paul on Sunday.
The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, was moved to Sunday due to blizzard-like conditions throughout Minnesota.
Down by 1 with 18 seconds left, Jordan Miller missed a three-pointer for the win, and Scott Roehl came up short on a full-court shot as time expired.
With the loss, the Mustangs go to 2-2 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, 5-3 overall. The Golden Bears are also 2-2 in the NSIC, 5-3 overall after the win.
"Over the course of the weekend, I thought we had plenty of opportunities. And sometimes, the ball doesn't bounce your way," said SMSU head coach Brad Bigler, whose team lost the last two games by three points combined. "Sometimes, you have to be able to make that play when your team needs it the most. Not necessarily the missed shots, but things like the defensive rebounds."
Bigler said C-SP's athletic lineup provided a unique challenge to the Mustangs.
"They're as tough of a matchup as we get in the conference," Bigler said. "It's a unique lineup that spreads the floor and attacks on the drive. They're good athletically and are still a decent rebounding team. We knew it was going to be a tough matchup."
Leading the way for the Golden Bears was sophomore guard Isaiah Thomas, who had his first career double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Peter Olafeso scored a game-high 19 points for C-SP.
"Isaiah stepped up and made some big shots," Bigler said. "That was probably his best game of the year."
For SMSU, Scott Roehl had a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards, both team highs. Jordan Miller and Lavione West each scored 11 points, a career high for West.
The difference, Bigler said, came on the little plays. Off rebounds and missed layups by SMSU, the Golden Bears were able to convert on 16 fast break points, and scored 16 points off turnovers.
"They did a good job capitalizing on mistakes," Bigler said. "They have athletes who can make big plays and go coast-to-coast. We had a tough time picking up the ball in transition."
The Mustangs stay on the road this weekend, taking on Winona State on Friday and Upper Iowa on Saturday.
Lavione West 5-8 0-0 11, Taylor Huseby 2-7 1-1 5, Scott Roehl 7-16 1-2 15, Vinard Birch 2-7 4-4 8, Jordan Miller 4-11 1-1 11, Trent Carlson 2-2 0-0 5, William Giddings 0-3 1-1 1, Matt Zager 2-7 1-1 6, Nick Smith 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 26-68 9-10 66. Three-Pointers 5-15 (Miller 2-7) Rebounds 42 (Roehl 13, Miller 8) Assists 12 (Birch 4) Steals 8 (Roehl 2, Smith 2) Blocks 3 Turnovers 10 Total Fouls 17.
Concordia-St. Paul (67)
Brent Barz 4-13 2-7 10, Courtney Tyler 3-6 3-3 10, Peter Olafeso 6-10 7-7 19, Kenny Olafeso 3-5 0-1 6, Isaiah Thomas 6-14 0-0 14, Andrew Kuderer 3-9 0-1 8. Totals 25-58 12-19 67. Three-Pointers 5-12 (Thomas 2-7, Kuderer 2-3) Rebounds 35 (Thomas 10, Barz 9) Assists 12 (P. Olafeso 5) Steals 6 (P. Olafeso 2) Blocks 3 Turnovers 12 Total Fouls 9.
Halftime Score: SMSU 34, C-SP 31.