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Eric Peterson, Published January 18 2013

Dragons men cruise past Sioux Falls for conference win

MOORHEAD – Alex Novak had an efficient start Friday evening at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The Minnesota State Moorhead senior made his first four shots from the floor and sank all six free throws he attempted in the first half. Those 14 points that came in the first 14 minutes sparked the Dragons to an 80-53 victory against the University of Sioux Falls in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball before 1,102 fans.

The Dragons (14-3,

8-3 NSIC) snapped a two-game losing streak. MSUM lost those two games by an

average of 19 points.

“I thought we were a little embarrassed over the last two performances,” Dragons head coach Chad Walthall said. “Not that we lost, but we didn’t play the way the Dragons are expected to play.”

Novak finished with a game-high 18 points against Sioux Falls and also added four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

“It was just a really good

win to get that taste back in our mouth,” said Novak, a 6-foot-9 forward from

Oxford, Iowa. “I think we started off really well and just carried it through the whole game.”

The Dragons scored

21 of 24 points during one stretch in the first half, including 13 consecutive

points.

Novak scored six points in that span, including a crowd-pleasing dunk. Freshman guard Brady Wohler capped the scoring spree with two foul shots that gave the Dragons a

32-12 lead with 8 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first half.

MSUM, which led by

as many as 23 points in the first 20 minutes, shot 61 percent (17 of 28) from

the field in the first half. The Dragons also shot 64 percent (7 of 11) from

3-point range and made 8 of 8 shots from the foul line before halftime. The Dragons took a 49-29 lead into halftime.

“Everybody was clicking,” Novak said. “We were hitting our shots.”

The Dragons had three different players score in double digits, including Novak. Sophomore guard Jordan Riewer scored 13 points, while freshman guard Tyler Vaughan added 11 points off the bench. The Dragons shot 56 percent (29 of 52) from the floor for the game.

“I know this team responds pretty well when you challenge them a little bit,” Walthall said.

Walthall liked the attention to detail his team had on the defensive end against the Cougars. He felt that was lacking in a 79-64 home loss against Northern State on Tuesday and an 87-64 road loss against Minnesota State-Mankato.

“I don’t think we played with the effort it takes to win those types of games,” Walthall said.

SIOUX FALLS (7-8, 3-8): Holland 2-6 0-04, Brown 2-4 0-0 5, Moffitt 3-7 0-1 7, Rader 2-6 3-4 7, Maxwell 5-10 0-0 11, Robey 0-3 1-2 1, Goffney 0-5 2-2 2, Freeman 1-5 4-4 7, Coughlin 0-1 0-0 0, Stotts 1-1 1-2 4, Kielpinski 2-2 1-2 5, Dixon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-52 12-17 53.

MSUM (14-3, 8-3 NSIC): Tucker 3-6 0-0 9, Riewer 5-10 0-0 13, Wohler 2-4 2-2 7, Figini 2-5 0-04, Novak 5-7 8-9 18, Holt 1-1 0-0 3, Akason 0-1 0-0 0 Vaughan 4-8 0-0

11,Jorgenson 1-1 0-0 2, Olson 3-6 1-2 7, Filipek 2-2 0-0 4, Sevlie 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 29-52 11-13 80.

Half: MSUM 49, USF 29. 3 -point goals: USF 5-18 (Holland 0-2, Brown 1-1, Moffitt 1-3, Maxwell 1-4, Stotts 1-1, Dixon 0-1), MSUM 11-22 (Tucker 3-3, Riewer 3-8, Wohler 1-3, Akason 1-1, Vaughan 3-7). Total fouls: USF 9, MSUM 12. Rebounds: USF 30 (Maxwell 7), MSUM 30 (Novak 4, Vaughan 4). Assists: USF 10 (Holland 5), MSUM 19 (Riewer 8). Steals: USF 8 (Brown 2, Robey 2), MSUM 9 (Riewer 4). Turnovers: USF 14 (Moffitt 4), MSUM 12 (Wohler 3). A-1,102.


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com