Beavers head into final homestand

The Minot State men’s basketball team is still seeking consecutive wins in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this season.

The Beavers have a chance today with an 8 p.m. matchup against Sioux Falls at the MSU Dome, which is followed by Saturday’s 6 p.m. Senior Day game against Southwest Minnesota State.

“Two teams that really like to change their defense up, keep you off-balance,” MSU coach Matt Murken said. “Full-court press, half-court zone, half-court man, a little run-and-jump and trap, that sort of thing. So it’s teams that both like to switch it up and keep you on your toes on the defensive end.”

In preparation, Murken said MSU has searched for similarities. Both teams rely on frequent ball screens from their big, physical centers to set up opportunities for their shooters.

The Cougars (12-10, 9-9) rely on 6-foot-8 posts Bryan Kielpinski and Jordan Stotts. The Mustangs are led in points (12.0), rebounds (7.1) and blocks (1.6) per game by 6-9 senior center Nick Smith.

Sioux Falls hits from 3-point range at a 37.5-percent clip and SMSU at a 34.8-percent clip.

“Both of them are pretty similar,” Murken said. “Both of them have a lot of guys that can really shoot the basketball.”

The Cougars are 2-8 on the road this season, while the Mustangs are 6-6. Murken hopes to add to those loss totals this weekend.

“We’d certainly like to put together a little bit of a winning streak at the end,” he said.

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.