UMD men's basketball: Bulldogs struggle without injured point guard
Minnesota State-Mankato men's basketball coach Matt Margenthaler gave Minnesota Duluth coach Gary Holquist a few extra pats on the back after the Maverick's 92-72 rout of the Bulldogs on Thursday in the North Central Conference opener before 352 ...
Minnesota State-Mankato men's basketball coach Matt Margenthaler gave Minnesota Duluth coach Gary Holquist a few extra pats on the back after the Maverick's 92-72 rout of the Bulldogs on Thursday in the North Central Conference opener before 352 fans at Romano Gym.
UMD, which is playing without starting point guard Jordan Schade, lost its sixth straight.
"I consider Gary one of my best friends in this profession, and I know he wants to kick me, and I want to kick him," Margenthaler said. "With that said, we all go through stretches like this, and I want him to know I'll always be there for him. It's a tough situation the Bulldogs are in."
UMD (7-9) appears lost offensively and needs to find some rhythm quickly if they expect to salvage their season. The conference schedule is considered a sprint with only 12 league games, and Schade still is struggling to regain his quickness after suffering a foot injury that required surgery. He is considered week-to-week, so UMD will need to forge its own identity in the meantime.
While Minnesota State (11-4) didn't apply a full-court press, they did pressure whoever brought the ball up court in an attempt to keep the Bulldogs' offense out of sync.
"I blame myself for this," Holquist said. "I rolled the dice going into the season with only one lead guard, thinking Schade would never get hurt, but it backfired. We've got some guys being asked to do things they wouldn't normally have to do. The bottom line is that we can still win games if we outwork and outcompete the opponent, and we obviously didn't do that."
Doing his part for Minnesota State was junior Jake Morrow, who scored a career-high 32 points on 12-for-16 shooting. The 6-foot-4 guard played as if the NBA is in his future, scoring 3-pointers, making steals and dunking. His banner night was part hot shooting and part lax defense. The Mavericks led 48-28 at the half and extended it in the second. Morrow, who played only 27 minutes, came out with 5:43 remaining as the game was already secured.
"You can't let a shooter like that get open looks early," Holquist said, "because if he starts knocking them down, the results can be volatile."
Give Morrow a slight edge over UMD's Jordan Nuness in a duel between two of the best players in the NCC. Nuness, a 6-3 senior guard, finished with a team-high 24 points, while teammate Brian Sykora added 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Both UMD players fouled out.
"We were shooting around before the game, and I just couldn't miss," Morrow said. "Then the game started, and I made my first couple shots. I just started draining them after that. It was just one of those games."
JON NOWACKI covers college sports for the News Tribune. He can be reached weeknights at (218) 723-5305 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .