Beavers break out
Dominique McDonald banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing Friday, prompting an embarrassed grin from Minot State’s freshman point guard.
The way the Beavers shot the ball for most of the night, adding luck to the equation hardly seemed fair.
MSU shot a blistering 55 percent from the field and knocked down 14 3s in a 91-75 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over Concordia-St. Paul at the MSU Dome.
MSU senior Anthony Enriquez was the most frequent long-range bomber, connecting on 5-of-8 triples en route to 17 points. But it was the early play of forward Josh Johnson that snowballed into the Beavers’ highest point total of the season.
The 6-foot-5 senior scored 15 points in the first half and hit all six of his shots in the period. Johnson finished with a game-high 21 points despite only playing 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
“He came in, executed, did what coach said,” Enriquez said. “He took the open jump shots, played with confidence. It trickled down and made us all play better.”
Enriquez hit his third 3 of the game off an inbounds play with four seconds remaining in the opening half, giving the Beavers (8-11 overall, 7-8 NSIC) a 44-35 lead at the break.
MSU went on a 6-0 spurt eight minutes into the second half and totally broke the game open with three consecutive 3s – two by Thomas Korf, one by E.J. Williams – that gave the Beavers a 20-point lead with 6 minutes, 12 seconds to play.
C-SP (4-15, 2-13) couldn’t stay in front of the Beavers’ ballhandlers or keep up with MSU’s ball movement.
The Beavers finished with a season-high 20 assists and a season-low five turnovers. Coming into the game, MSU was 14th in the 16-team NSIC in scoring (62 ppg) and last in field-goal percentage (39.8). But when the Beavers started making shots, the entire team caught fire.
“Everybody got energy from each other scoring,” Johnson said. “We just really got it going early, got some good looks and started knocking down some shots.”
Even with his team’s gaudy offensive numbers, MSU coach Matt Murken was equally impressed with the defense of junior Isiah Gandy. The long-armed guard held C-SP’s leading scorer, Terez VanPelt, to seven points while forcing him into three turnovers.
“He took the ball as many times as he allowed them to score,” Murken said. “When you watch … Terez VanPelt on tape, he just doesn’t have games like that. It was a phenomenal job by a guy (Gandy) who didn’t score a basket.”
McDonald had 17 points and Williams added 12 for MSU, which hosts No. 7 Minnesota State-Mankato (17-2, 13-2) at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
“Huge challenge for us tomorrow,” Murken said. “We have to rebound much better in order to be successful, but it should be a fun opportunity for us.”