For the second consecutive year the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament men’s basketball championship game was between the Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons and University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Dragons won the game 81-73 to claim the tournament championship.
Now, it was time for round two. For the third straight game the Dragons got off to a hot start shooting connecting on four three-pointers between Gavin Baumgartner (2), Lorenzo McGhee (1), and Dane Zimmer (1) in the opening five minutes. MSUM led 16-8 at the 14:51 mark of the first half. The ensuing seven and a half minutes would see the Dragons extend the lead to 29-17. With 7:15 remaining in the first half Dane Zimmer and Gavin Baumgartner would check out for the remainder of the half with two fouls apiece. Zimmer was approaching another double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds in the half. Baumgartner had eight points himself. Duluth’s Drew Blair kept the Bulldogs in the game with 13 of his team’s 17 points. The remainder of the half both teams went bucket for bucket until the final 2:58 where Jacob Beeninga scored all six of his first half points. MSUM led Minnesota Duluth at the half 47-28.
Duluth started off the second half hot with Austin Andrews scoring eight points to the 14:51 mark of the second half. MSUM still led 53-38. When Andrews started scoring for the Bulldogs, Jacob Beeninga of the Dragons started knocking down shots as well, including hitting three second half three-pointers. With 1:55 remaining in the championship game rematch Minnesota Duluth got the deficit to 70-62, but that’s all the closer they got. The Dragons would take care of the basketball and outscore the Bulldogs 9-7 in the remainder of the half.
When the clock hit 0:00 MSUM was ready to reclaim its spot on the throne of the NSIC by a score of 79-69 over Minnesota Duluth.
The title defense was complete for the Dragons as they celebrated a second straight NSIC tournament championship, the only difference, this time Tim Bergstraser was at the helm as the Dragons head coach.
Next it was time for the NSIC All-Tournament Team to be announced… It was Dragon heavy with four of the five honorees being from MSUM. The five players named to the team were tournament MVP Jacob Beeninga, Lorenzo McGhee, Gavin Baumgartner, and Dane Zimmer, along with UMD’s Drew Blair.
The Dragons have now earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Central Region Tournament March 11-14. The NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Selection Show will be Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m.
Lorenzo McGhee 20 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast
Jacob Beeninga 17 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast
Gavin Baumgartner 17 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
Dane Zimmer 13 pts, 12 reb, 5 blk
Trever Kaiser 6 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast
Drew Hagen 4 pts, 1 reb
Logan Kinsey 2 pts, 1 reb
Drew Blair 31 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast
Austin Andrews 14 pts, 5 reb
Joshua Brown 9 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast
Joshua Strong 5 pts
Jack Middleton 4 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
Lincoln Meister 4 pts, 2 reb
Charlie Katona 2 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
Matt Thompson 7 reb