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Chris Murphy, Published December 14 2012

MSUM men holds on to beat UMD in basketball

MOORHEAD – It was the best performance Minnesota State Moorhead coach Chad Walthall had ever seen, but fortunately for his Dragons squad it fell just short of being perfect, as the Dragons held on to beat Minnesota-Duluth

79-76 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action Friday.

UMD’s Jake Hottenstine had somehow, some way, responded to every MSUM statement in the conference showdown Friday, but his 38 points – 27 of which came from behind the

3-point line – came up three points short, as he missed two game-tying 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.

“I’ve coached Division I, II and III and I’ve never seen an individual performance like that,” Walthall said. “I really respected him a lot before tonight because I knew how hard he played defensively. I thought in the first half we didn’t do that well of a job on him and he got some good looks. In the second half, I thought we did well on him, but it didn’t matter. He was just making shots over guys and I was stunned.”

Hottenstine was 7-for-11 from the field, including five 3-pointers, to score 20 in the first half, but MSUM held on to a 42-41 lead in the first frame.

After Anthony Tucker hit a 3-pointer to put the Dragons up 51-50 early in the second half, the Dragons would not lead again until Tucker struck again with another 3-pointer to give the Dragons a 73-71 lead with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left. On the ensuing UMD (3-4, 1-2) possession, Hottenstine looked to answer as he had done all night, but lost the ball and Tyler Vaughn hit a layout for two of his 15 points to put the Dragons up 75-71 with 1:25 left.

Jordan Reetz hit a

3-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within one at 77-76 with 22.2 seconds left, but Tucker drained two free throws and Hottenstine shot two of his four misses from 3-point land on the night.

“We didn’t play very well defensively in the first half, he got going and he was rolling,” said Tucker, who finished with 26 points, five rebounds and three assists. “We need to figure stuff out, but he hit some tough shots. We tried to contest his shots, but when a guy is feeling it, there isn’t much you can do.”

MSUM (7-1, 2-1 NSIC): Tucker 8-20 8-8 26, Riewer 5-8 6-6 17, Wohler 0-2 1-2 1, Novak 4-12 0-3 8, Filipek 0-4 2-4 2, Vaughan 6-7 0-0 15, Olson 4-5 2-3 10. Totals 27-58 19-26 79.

UMD (3-4, 1-2): Reece 2-11 0-0 4, Hottenstine 14-22 1-1 38, Reetz 2-3 0-0 5, Ervin 9-14 3-4 24, Crawford 1-1 0-0 2, Calahan 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 29-58 4-5 76.

Half: MSUM 42, UMD 41. 3-point goals: UMD 14-27 (Reece 0-4, Hottenstine 9-13, Reetz 1-2, Kristofer 0-1, Ervin 3-4, Calahan 1-3), MSUM 6-16 (Tucker 2-8, Riewer 1-3, Wohler 0-1, Filipek 0-1, Vaughan 3-3). Total fouls: MSUM 11, UMD 21. Rebounds: MSUM 31 (Novak 8), UMD 36 (Reece 7). Assists: MSUM 10 (Tucker 3), UMD 17 (Reece 5). Steals: MSUM 10 (Four with two), UMD 2 (Bucholz, Reetz). Turnovers: MSUM 4, UMD 13.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548