By Ryan McNamara / KVSC Sports Director / @RyanMcNamaraPXP
It was a battle between new blood and old blood in the Huskies’ matchup against the Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks Tuesday night. On one side, St. Cloud State’s first-year head coach Quincy Henderson. On the other, Matt Margenthaler, in his 22nd year with the Mavericks. While the 68-86 final score may be deceiving, Henderson and the Huskies showed that the 20-year head coaching head start didn’t give the Mavericks much of an advantage.
Henderson was known for his high-effort play and toughness during his playing days at fellow NSIC competitor Winona State, and his Huskies’ team showed the same effort and relentlessness in their first home game, forcing 14 turnovers and and scoring 18 points off of turnovers. On the offensive end, the Huskies received lights out shooting for much of the night from Tony Dahl and Tommy Chatman. Redshirt freshman guard Dahl had 19 points on the night, starting the game hitting his first four three-pointers and not missing from beyond-the-arc until midway through the second half. Senior transfer guard Chatman was 5 of 11 from the field in the first half, giving the Huskies 15 of their 39 points at the break. The Huskies’ hot shooting early (7 of 14 from three in the first half) kept them in one point deficit, down 39-40 after the first 20 minutes.
The Huskies’ offense couldn’t continue the pace they set in the first half, shooting just 33.3% from the field and 26.7% from three in the second half. The Mavericks showed why they’re seen as one of the top offenses in DII basketball with their second half play, going 16 for 29 from the field in the second half (4 of 9 from three). Dahl’s season-high 27 minutes off the bench were key for St. Cloud State staying in the game late, as he had 11 points in the second half. No other Husky had more than five points in the final 20 minutes.
The Mavericks saw four players score in double digits, with senior guard Trevor Moore leading the way with 22 points. Malik Willingham, who had 19 and 25 points in the Mavericks first two games, was noticeably quiet. The junior guard shot just 1 of 7 from the field and finished with nine points. Kyreese Willingham, the younger brother of Malik, made his impact on the game in multiple facets. The sophomore guard finished with 14 points, ten rebounds, and three assists, chipping in defensively with a block and three steals.
Behind Chatman and Dahl, Joe Mutimer had nine points and Kevin Cook looked good in his limited minutes with six. Ryan Bagley continued to show off his versatility, routinely guarding positions 1-5 and finishing with seven assists. Dahl led the Huskies with three steals and Bailey had the lone block. Starting forward Luke Taylor left the contest midway through the first half with a lower body injury.
Looking ahead, the Huskies will face off against No. 7 ranked Minnesota-Duluth next Tuesday at home. Myself and Zac Chapman will be on the call on 97.5 RadioX.