MARSHALL - Behind a 22-6 made free throw advantage, the Marshall Tigers pulled off the upset of the No. 10 (Class AAA) Mankato West Scarlets in a non-conference boys' basketball game on Saturday. Half of those free throws came during a 20-8 run during the second half which was paramount to Marshall's 70-50 victory over the Scarlets.
Carter Burmeister scored an easy two points for the Scarlets to cut Marshall's lead to 32-30 with 15 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the game. Mankato West would get no closer, however, as Hunter Peterson responded with a layup of his own just 13 seconds later to start Marshall's game-altering run.
Tiger guard Riley Sharbono had seven of his 15 points during the stretch, lasting 10 minutes, including five free throws. Reserve forward Tanner Bukowski also had 15 points for the Tigers, with nine of those coming after halftime.
The Tigers (4-1 overall) outscored Mankato West 42-26 in the second half while on their way to their fourth consecutive win.
Marshall had 12 assists as a team, led by Austin Saugstad's five, and saw 10 players record points.
"Our guys did a great job of sharing the basketball and I think, as a team, we're at our best when we share the basketball," Marshall head coach Travis Carroll said. "In the second half I thought we did that well and really helped with the positive momentum going forward."
Mankato West (50)
Jake Dale 1 2-2 4, Braedan Myers 3 0-0 6, Ryan Schlichte 2 0-0 6, Alex Knutson 6 2-4 17, Austin Majeskie 4 1-1 10, Travon Jones 1 0-0 2, Dillon Dale 1 0-0 2, Kennedy Maker 0 0-2 0, Carter Burmeister 1 1-2 3. Totals 19 6-9 50. 3-pointers 6 (Knutson 3) Rebounds 30 (J. Dale 6, Schlichte 6) Assists 11 (J. Dale 3) Steals 4 (Knutson 2) Blocks 0 Turnovers 19 Total Fouls 24.
Aaron Mathiowetz 2 2-2 6, Bryce Johnson 0 2-2 2, Carl Dougls 2 0-1 4, Hunter Peterson 2 1-2 5, Austin Saugstad 2 4-4 8, Derek Buysse 5 2-2 13, Riley Sharbono 4 7-10 15, Tanner Bukowski 4 4-4 15, Spencer Petrich 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 22-27 70. 3-pointers 4 (Bukowski 3) Rebounds 41 (Buysse 11) Assists 12 (Saugstad 5) Steals 12 (Bukowski 4) Blocks 1 (Bukowski) Turnovers 13 Total Fouls 11.
Halftime Score: Marshall 28, Mankato West 24
Another positive for the Tigers was their dominance on the glass. Marshall ended the game with a 41-30 edge in rebounds, led by Derek Buysse's 11.
Making his second consecutive start in place of Bukowski, Buysse also had 13 points to complete his double-double (his second in a row). The change in the opening lineup for the Tigers paid dividends on Saturday, as Bukowski was able to give Marshall a scoring boost off the bench.
According to Carroll, the change to the starting lineup was just the first of many that the Tigers will likely see throughout the year.
"We've got a lot of guys that are capable of starting and throughout the year we'll see lots of different guys starting at different times," Carroll said. "We share that opportunity with our teammates.
"They're both tremendous players and they worked really hard today" Carroll said of Bukowski and Buysse. "They did a good job of making their teammates better today, and it was really good to see out of both of them."
Marshall started the game with a 9-0 run over the first five minutes, as Mankato West struggled to fight off weariness and the Tigers defense.
The Scarlets shook off the slow start and battled back to tie the game at 19-19 at the 5:06 mark of the first half.
Bukowski knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing 50 seconds later, however, sparking the Tigers to a 9-5 run to close out the half.
"Give Mankato West credit, they're a very good basketball team," Carroll said. "They got down early, but they fought back and put us in a situation where we were lucky to be ahead at halftime. We faced some adversity in the first half, but our guys handled that and came out in the second half and did some good things."
Alex Knutson led all scorers with 17 points for the Scarlets, who committed 24 fouls compared to Marshall's 11. The Tiger defense held the Scarlets to 35 percent shooting on the day, while Marshall shot 41 percent from the field.
Up next for Marshall is a 7:30 p.m. game with Mankato East at Southwest Minnesota State's R/A Facility on Wednesday. The Tiger's will face former head coach Barry Wohler and his Orono Spartans at the same time on Thursday, before closing out their holiday tournament with Tracy-Milroy-Balaton on Friday at Marshall High School.