WAYNE – As the top two seeds in each division of the 2022 NSIC/Sanford Health Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament earned a first round bye, a handful of games were showcased to begin the postseason.
From Rice Auditorium, the Wayne State College men earned the #3 seed in the South Division and hosted North Division #6 St. Cloud State.
Earlier this season, WSC won 83-59 over the Huskies on January 21 as Wednesday night marked the third time in the past four seasons that the two teams met in the conference tournament.
St. Cloud State built a 23-point lead in the first half as Wayne State College went back-and-forth with the Huskies with a heartbreaking loss on a buzzer beater in overtime for Ryan Bagley of SCSU to win 100-98 in OT.
SCSU upsets WSC to improve to 11-17 as the Wildcats end their season at 14-12.
The game featured 11 lead changes and seven ties as the Wildcat fought their way back within nine points at the break, 47-38. WSC outscored SCSU, 48-39 in the second half and had a three-point lead with under 10 seconds left. Anthony Roberts drained a three-point shot to force overtime and tie the game at 86-86. The Huskies eclipsed Wayne State, 14-12 in overtime with a shot at the buzzer. Final favored St. Cloud State, 100-98.
All five starters recorded double figures for Wayne State College with junior Jordan Janssen posted 29 points, six rebounds (three offensive), three assists and three steals (12-16 FG/5-7 FT). Janssen moves to #6 all-time scoring with 1,557 and tied for third in career rebounding at Wayne State College with 932.
Redshirt freshman Justin Eagins finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four steals (7-18 FG/1-4 3PT/4-4 FT); junior Nate Mohr added 17 points (5-12 FG/5-10 3PT/2-2 FT); freshman Alec Millender tallied 14 points and eight assists (4-9 FG/1-3 3PT/5-6 FT) as senior Ben Dentlinger poured 11 points, six rebounds (three offensive) and two blocks (5-6 FG/1-2 FT). Dentlinter finishes his Wildcat career with 172 blocks (all-time leader) in 125 games along with owning four of the top 10 single season block records (47 in 18-19, 45 this year, 40 in 19-20 and 35 in 20-21).
Other scoring came from freshman Jay Saunders with five points, freshman Cody McCullough had two points and freshman Zach LaFave scored a point.
WSC shot 36-72 (50%) form the field, 7-21 (33.3%) from the three-point line and 19-26 (73.1%) at the foul line.
Huskies leaders were Anthony Roberts with 34 points and 12 rebounds; Caleb Donaldson with 24 points and nine assists; Ryan Bagley followed with 12 points and Matthew Willert posted 11 points.
SCSU finished 35-60 (58.3%) from the floor, 15-26 (57.5%) from behind the arc and 15-19 (78.9%) from the charity stripe.
Wayne State College scored 27 points off 22 St. Cloud State turnovers while the Huskies had 13 points off 10 Wildcat turnovers. WSC won the battle in the paint (52-40) as SCSU won the bench scoring (13-8) and fast break scoring (15-10). The Huskies out rebounded Wayne State, 34-33 (7-12 offensive) which led to seven second chance scoring compared to 13 points by WSC.
St. Cloud State will next face North Division #2 MSU Moorhead on Sunday, February 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the NSIC Quarterfinal round.