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Eric Peterson, Published February 08 2014

Minnesota-Duluth men edge Dragons for road victory

MOORHEAD – An extra second on the shot clock proved paramount for Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday night.

Bulldogs guard Junior Coleman hit a fading 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer with just over a minute remaining in the second half. That clutch shot helped lift Minnesota-Duluth to a 70-67 victory against Minnesota State Moorhead in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“It’s good to be lucky,” Minnesota-Duluth head coach Matt Bowen said. “I knew he was going to get a turn and a throw and that’s about what it amounted to. We were very fortunate that shot went in.”

The Bulldogs (10-12, 8-10) have won three consecutive games. MSUM (16-6, 12-6) had its two-game winning streak snapped. The Dragons last six games have gone to overtime or been decided by five points or less.

“It’s a brutal league,” Dragons head coach Chad Walthall said. “I thought they outplayed us. And when you get outplayed, very rarely are you going to be the team that wins the game.”

The Bulldogs had the ball and led 66-64 with the shot clock running down late in the game. UMD guard Reece Zoelle went up for a shot at the top of the key, but was stripped by MSUM guard Malik Wood as he elevated. The officials ruled it a jump ball right before the shot-clock buzzer sounded. After a replay review, it was determined the Bulldogs, who had the possession arrow in their favor, had one second remaining on the shot clock with 1:09 to remaining on the game clock.

That set the stage for Coleman, who broke free cutting toward the sideline. The 6-foot guard caught the short inbound pass and hit a deep 3-point shot while fading out of bounds to edge the shot-clock buzzer. That shot gave the Bulldogs a 69-64 lead.

“That’s a tough thing to overcome,” Bowen said of Coleman’s tough 3-point shot. “It would certainly take the wind out of us. There’s just not enough time left to get that back.”

Coleman finished with 15 points off the bench, including nine points in the second half.

“It was a huge shot and we’ve been on the other side of that,” Walthall said. “We put ourselves in position to be down two with them having the ball. We’ve got to put ourselves in better position.”

The Dragons missed a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, facing a 69-66 deficit. Wood had a 3-point attempt from the baseline rim out with around 7 seconds remaining. The teams exchanged free throws in the final five seconds for the final score.

“We tried like hell to lose it at the end,” Bowen said. “We were going to foul up three (points) … and they still got a good shot at the basket. We certainly gave them opportunities.”

The Dragons led for less than three minutes of a game that featured 7 ties, although the Bulldogs never led by more than eight points. MSUM took its first lead in the second half after Tyler Vaughan sank a 3-pointer to give the Dragons a 45-42 lead with 14:24 remaining. That was MSUM’s largest lead. Seventy-five seconds later, the Bulldogs forged back into the lead.

The Dragons shot 34 percent (22 of 64) from the field, 24 percent (5 of 21) from 3-point range and 64 percent (18 of 28) from the foul line. MSUM made 1 of 4 free throws in the final five seconds.

“We’re certainly not a power team,” Walthall said. “We have to rely on playing smart and executing. We just missed a lot of shots. For us to be consistent, we’re going to have to be better.”

UMD (10-12, 8-10 NSIC): Crawford 4-9 9-9 19, Zoelle 7-19 0-0 15, Reetz 5-8 0-0 10, Gillard 0-1 0-0 0, Harder 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 1-1 0-0 3, Coleman 6-11 0-2 15, Jackson 2-2 2-5 6, Olson 1-3 0-0 2, Benson 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 26-55 12-18 70.

MSUM (16-6, 12-6): Clark 3-8 2-9 8, Williams 3-8 1-2 7, Wood 6-14 4-5 17, Vaughan 5-10 0-0 13, Bingham 1-7 0-0 2, Songolo 2-5 3-3 7, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Lien 1-4 2-3 4, Filipek 1-3 0-0 3, Sevlie 0-4 6-6 6. Totals 22-64 18-28 67.

Half: UMD 34, MSUM 29. 3-point goals: UMD 6-13 (Crawford 1-1, Zoelle 1-4, Reetz 0-1, Gillard 0-1, Wilson 1-1, Coleman 3-5), MSUM 5-21 (Williams 0-1, Wood 1-4, Vaughan 3-6, Bingham 0-3, Songolo 0-2, Nelson 0-1, Lien 0-2, Filipek 1-2). Total fouls: UMD 20, MSUM 16. Rebounds: UMD 41 (Zoelle 11), MSUM 39 (Clark 18). Assists: UMD 7 (Coleman 2), MSUM 7 (Clark 4). Steals: UMD 2 (Gillard, Coleman), MSUM 4 (Wood 2). Turnovers: UMD 12 (Crawford 3), MSUM 6 (Vaughan 2). A-850.

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