UMD men's basketball survives messy NCAA tournament game

The Bulldogs won despite committing 18 turnovers and trailing 35-25 at halftime.

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MARYVILLE, Mo. — Minnesota Duluth men's basketball earned its first NCAA tournament win in school history the hard way, rallying to beat Central Oklahoma 62-56 in a Central Regional quarterfinal on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University on Saturday afternoon.

The sixth-seeded Bulldogs had a major case of the turnover bug in the first half, as they coughed up the ball 11 times, leading to 15 points for the Bronchos. Central Oklahoma closed the half on a 10-4 to take a 35-25 lead at the break.

The Bulldogs cleaned up their act somewhat (seven turnovers) in the second half and sharpened up their shooting significantly, making 13 of 23 attempts. Meanwhile, the Bronchos' shooting legs pulled up lame. Central made only five of 25 field-goal attempts in the second half (one of seven from 3-point range) and had to rely on 10-for-12 free-throw shooting for what offense it could generate in the second period.

The Bulldogs made their move after the halfway point of the second half, taking their first lead on a 3-pointer from Joshua Brown with 4:24 remaining. Mattie Thompson followed with a layup on the next trip down for a 53-49 lead. Brown knocked down another trey with 2:43 remaining for a five-point edge, forcing the Bronchos to foul. Central had a possession with a chance to tie in the last two minutes, but missed, and Charlie Katona's jumper with 48 seconds left all but sealed the Bronchos' fate.

Brown finished with 21 points on 7-of-13 from the field to lead UMD in scoring. He also added nine rebounds.


Jack Middleton posted 14 points, while Katona had a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards.

Cam Givens, with 12 points, was leading scorer for Central, which finishes its season 26-6.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, the Bulldogs (24-9) will face No. 7 seed Emporia State, which upset No. 2 seed Northern State in a 72-51 rout, in a semifinal. In fact, the Bulldogs are the last Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference team standing after fourth seed Minnesota State Moorhead lost 67-64 in overtime to Southern Nazarene in the late quarterfinal on Saturday night.

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