MARSHALL - It was just an exhibition game, but still, it felt good to be back on the court for Southwest Minnesota State guard Shaun Condon.
MACCRAY's all-time leading scorer had to sit out last season after transferring to SMSU from the University of Mary, and on Wednesday night in the Mustangs' first exhibition game of the season, Condon came off the bench and made up for lost time by scoring a team-high 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting, including three 3-pointers, to help the Mustangs to an 88-75 win over Waldorf College (Iowa).
Condon had had plenty of good games at the R/A Facility in high school while leading the Wolverines through long section tournament runs, and he said he felt comfortable back on the court representing the Mustangs.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Southwest Minnesota State’s Matt Zager, with ball, tries to find an open teammate after recovering a loose ballbetween Waldorf College’s Robert Burns (4) and Jordan Nelson during the second half of Wednesday night’s exhibition game at the R/A Facility. Zager finished the game 7 of 9 shooting with 14 points.
"In practice we've been working hard, but it's weird being back out there again," said Condon, who has three years of eligibility left at SMSU. "I was just trying to get into a groove, and I had teammates looking for me, which was great."
Condon is a new face in a Mustang lineup that looks very similar to last year. The SMSU veterans showed a chemistry that their opponent, which returned just five letterwinners from last year, lacked.
SMSU senior forward Lavione West hit 9 of 15 shots, scoring 19 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Senior guard Jordan Miller scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half and added six assists. And junior Matt Zager converted on 7 of 9 shot attempts for 14 points. As a team, the Mustangs shot 56.5 percent for the game compared to 36.5 percent for Waldorf.
Robert Burns 5-18 8-9 19, DeJohnett Gunsby 0-5 2-4 2, Teddy Robinson 2-4 2-2 7, Erik Brewer 4-7 6-8 16, Jordan Nelson 2-3 1-3 5, Cam Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Devin Graham 1-1 0-0 2, Aaron Carpenter 3-7 0-0 2, Kwamaine Johnson 3-8 4-6 11, MMitch Barrett-Burrell 3-9 1-1 7. Totals 23-63 24-33 75. Three-pointers 5-19 (Brewer 2-4, Brns 1-6, Gibson 1-2, Johnson 1-2) Rebounds 42 (Johnson 9, Nelson 7) Assists 10 (Johnson 3, Gibson 3) Steals 8 (Johnson 4) Blocks 1 Turnovers 17 Total Fouls 17.
William Giddings 1-2 1-4 4, Vinard Birch 0-4 0-2 0, Jordan Miller 4-5 2-3 12, Matt Zager 7-9 0-0 14, Nick Smith 1-1 3-5 5, Tramel Barnes 2-5 2-2 6, Jordan Buddenhagen 2-4 0-0 5, Shaun Condon 9-15 2-2 23, Michael Appel 0-2 0-0 0, Lavione West 9-15 0-0 19. Totals 35-62 10-18 88. Three-pointers 8-19 (Condon 3-6, Miller 2-3, Giddings 1-1, West 1-2, Buddenhagen 1-3) Rebounds 33 (West 7, Giddings 4, Barnes 4) Assists 21 (Barnes 6, Miller 5, Birch 3) Steals 11 (Condon 3, Zager 2, Birch 2) Blocks 2 Turnovers 14 Total Fouls 25.
Halftime Score: SMSU 48, Waldorf 35.
Mustang head coach Brad Bigler said he expects Condon to fit into the mix well with those players this season and be able to provide the team with instant offense.
"He wasn't afraid to shoot the basketball tonight, was he?" Bigler said with a smile. "But no, he's going to be that scorer that comes off the bench. It's nice to have him and Lavione both be able to come off the bench and provide a different tempo, a little different scoring punch, and then we have the consistency of Tramel (Barnes), as well."
Wednesday's game was tight through the first eight minutes, and after a layup by 6-foot-5 Waldorf forward Robert Burns, the Warriors pulled to within 16-14 and prompted Bigler to take a 30-second timeout.
Whatever message Bigler gave his players in the brief huddle, it provided a spark. Coming out of the timeout, Miller tossed a pass from the right wing to West under the basket for an alley-oop layup. SMSU junior guard Vinard Birch then stole the ball in the backcourt and laid off a pass to Miller for a one-handed slam.
SMSU never looked back from there.
The Mustangs started practice for the 2012-13 season just last week, so they weren't quite as sharp as they would like to eventually be. But their head coach was pleased with his team's overall performance in its first game.
"I think early on in the year you're always looking for that effort and communication," Bigler said. "I think it starts with that. At times tonight we were good at it, but at other times it showed that we still have quite a ways to go.
"Tonight, I thought our guys were pretty unselfish, for the most part, sharing the basketball and getting action to the rim, but I think we can still do a better job of moving the basketball and getting some more touches."
SMSU finished with 21 assists to 14 turnovers. Barnes led the team with six assists.
One blemish on the night for the Mustangs was rebounding. The athletic Warriors held a 42-33 edge on the glass and pulled down 18 offensive rebounds.
The Mustangs will continue exhibition play Saturday with a 4 p.m. game against the SMSU Alumni team for Andy Wiersma Day.