Southwest Minnesota State outlasted Wayne State 84-78 in overtime Monday evening in the NSIC Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals played at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. WSC is now 21-10 on the season with the loss while the Mustangs advance to Tuesday night’s championship game against Northern State with a 18-13 record.
The two teams played evenly through the first media timeout with Wayne State holding a 11-10 lead at the 13:14 mark.
After SMSU took a 14-12, Wildcat junior reserve Al’Tavius Jackson hit a 3-pointer and layup to put the ‘Cats back in front 17-14.
With WSC leading 17-16, the ‘Cats scored eight straight points and took a nine point advantage at 25-16 on a Nate Mohr trey.
WSC was still in front 29-20 when the Mustangs countered with an 8-0 run and got within 29-28.
SMSU used a Ryan Bruggeman 3-pointer to take a 33-31 lead with just under 3:00 to play in the first half. WSC regained the lead late in the half on a pair of Trevin Joseph free throws with eight seconds to go, but Michael Lee drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Southwest Minnesota State a 39-37 lead at halftime.
SMSU scored the next five points to tie the score at 44-44. With WSC leading 50-48, the Wildcats held the Mustangs scoreless for a stretch of 5:22 to take a 58-48 lead with 9:44 remaining following a Kendall Jacks layup.
WSC still held a 65-58 advantage with 4:33 to play when SMSU made a comeback.
The ‘Cats used a pair of Nick Ferrarini free throws with 1:23 left to go up 67-64. SMSU’s Ryan Bruggeman then made five of six free throws, going 1 of 2 with 15 seconds remaining to put the Mustangs ahead 69-67.
WSC then used a Jordan Janssen layin with just over one second left to send the game into overtime tied at 69-69.
The Wildcats scored first in overtime on a pair of Jacks free throws at the 4:12 mark, moving him into second place on the all-time scoring list at WSC with 1,626 points. It would be the only lead for WSC in the extra session.
SMSU used a 3-pointer and jumper to take a 74-71 lead.
Reserve freshman Nate Mohr drained a jumper at the 3:03 mark to tie the score at 75 and hit a 3-pointer to tie the score again at 78-78 with 2:02 remaining.
But that would be the final points for the Wildcats as SMSU’s Michael Lee sank a 3-pointer from the corner and the Mustangs made 3 of 4 free throws late for the 84-78 final score.
All five starters reached double figures for Wayne State led by Jacks with 16 points, now ranking second in all-time scoring with 1,626 points after edging past Tyler Johnson’s 1,625 points from 1995-99.
Wayne State finished the game making 25 of 55 shots for 45.5 percent. The ‘Cats were 7 for 21 behind the arc and 21 of 30 at the foul stripe.
Ryan Bruggeman paced Southwest Minnesota State with 34 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor Schafer added 19, Kenny Byers 14 and Michael Lee 12.
SMSU was 26 of 63 from the field for 41.3 percent and sank 11 of 22 behind the arc for 50 percent. The Mustangs were 21 for 26 at the charity stripe.
WSC now awaits the NCAA selection show on Sunday, March 10 to see if the Wildcats earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament with a 21-10 record.