The 34 season wins ties the single season school record, which was set back in the 1992-93 season when the Wolves went 34-2, under the direction of former Head Coach and Director of Athletics Bob Olson. Current Head Coach, Paul Sather, was a junior on the 1992-93 squad appearing in all 36 games for NSU. Northern adds to their storied season, now holding the NSIC Overall and North Division Titles, NSIC/Sanford Health Basketball Tournament Title, and NCAA Central Region Tournament Title.
The two teams battled with a total of seven lead changes and neither team holding a double figure lead through the first 20 minutes of action. Northern lead by as much as eight between the 11:12 and 9:12 minute marks, however MSU rallied back cutting the lead to one at the halftime break, as the scoreboard read 43-42 in the Wolves favor.
The Wolves out-scored the Mavericks 47-41 in the final 20 minutes of regulation, however it was until final minutes of play that the Wolves broke things open. NSU led, 78-74, with 2:57 left in the game when MSU resorted to the game plan of sending the Wolves to the line. DJ Pollard knocked down both foul shots at the 1:17 mark, and Northern went 10-of-12 from the line in the final minute of play, sealing the 7-point victory.
Northern shot 58.8 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from the 3-point line, and 71.9 percent from the foul line in the game. Defensively, the held the Mavericks who entered the game shooting 42.8 percent from the arc to a 35.3 3-point field goal percentage in the game.
The Wolves added 42 points in the paint, 25 points off the bench, 14 points off turnovers, eight second chance points, and two fast break points. Minnesota State just edged out the Wolves on the glass with 34 rebounds to Northern's 30. As a team, NSU combined for 12 assists, seven made 3-pointers, five blocks and four steals.
Ian Smith led five Wolves in double figures with 22 points, hitting 7-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the 3-point line. The junior added two rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for the Wolves. Logan Doyle was second on the team, and led the Wolves off the bench, with 21 points. The forward shot 77.8 percent from the floor, while adding two assists and one block, as well as a team high seven rebounds.
DJ Pollard grabbed 19 points of his own, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and 11-of-12 from the foul line. The recent CoSIDA Academic All-American® added four rebounds and one block to the team total. Darin Peterka and Carter Evans were the final Wolves in double figures notching 12 and ten points respectively. Peterka shot 50.0 percent from the floor and 60.0 percent from the arc, adding a team high six assists, as well as five rebounds and two steals. Evans knocked down 5-of-7 from the floor, and recorded three rebounds, one assist, and one block.
Gabe King, Bo Fries, and Andrew Kallman grabbed the final six team points, knocking down a basketball apiece. King tallied two rebounds, while Fries notched three rebounds, one assist, and one block, and Kallman added one rebound.
The Wolves landed two on the NCAA Central Region All-Tournament team in senior Logan Doyle and junior Ian Smith. Smith was named the tournament's MVP after averaging 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in the Wolves three wins.
Northern earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will face No. 6 seed East Stroudsburg, out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, on Tuesday, March 20 from Sioux Falls and the Sanford Pentagon.
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Maryville, Mo. – The No. 6 Northern State University men's basketball team will be making their first NCAA Elite 8 appearance in 20 years next week, after a 90-83 victory over Minnesota State in the Central Region Championship. With the win, the Wolves improve to 34-3 overall and will head to Sioux Falls and the Sanford Pentagon.