Dragon Men Win 4th Straight, Top No. 11 St. Cloud State, 78-74 - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Dragon Men Win 4th Straight, Top No. 11 St. Cloud State, 78-74

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The Minnesota State University Moorhead men's basketball team stretched its winning streak to four with a thrilling 78-74 win over No. 11-ranked St. Cloud State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action Saturday at Alex Nemzek Hall in Moorhead, Minn.

MSUM improved to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the NSIC with the win, while St. Cloud State (7-1, 4-1 NSIC) suffered its first loss of the year. It was the Dragons' first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since beating No. 3-ranked Winona State 90-72 on Feb. 17, 2012 in Winona.

Senior Anthony Tucker continued his outstanding season with a career-high 32 points. He also added five points and three assists. Senior Alex Novak had 13 points and eight rebounds for MSUM, while sophomore Jordan Riewer had 13 points, four assists and two steals. Senior Eric Olson had nine points and a career-high nine rebounds off the bench.

MSUM shot 51.9 percent (28-of-51) for the game while holding the Huskies to just 42.4 percent shooting (28-of-66), including just 31.4 percent in the first half.

The Dragons built a 19-point lead in the second half before St. Cloud State whittled the advantage to 71-69 with 3:04 left. Like the night before against Minnesota-Duluth, MSUM made key plays down the stretch to secure the win.

The Dragons led 73-71 when freshman Tyler Vaughan found Novak free down low, and the Dragon senior forward slammed home the dunk to push the Dragon lead to 75-71 with 1:53 left. Moments later, Riewer drained a pair of free throws to make it 77-71 with 1:15 left.

SCSU's Shaun Jensen drained a three-pointer to make it 77-74 with 24 seconds left, and the Dragons turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. However, the Dragons forced another stop in the final seconds, and a Novak free throw with 1.8 seconds left iced the game for MSUM.

The Huskies opened the game on a 12-3 run and built a 20-10 lead five minutes into the game. MSUM trailed 22-16 before going on a 17-0 run over a span of six minutes to surge into a 33-22 lead. The Dragons held the Huskies without a point for six minutes. Tucker had eight points during that run, while Olson had four and Vaughan added a three. That run helped MSUM take a 44-32 lead into halftime.

MSUM continued to add onto the lead in the second half, pushing it to 19 points at 57-38 with 14:31 left when Tucker buried a three. Over the next 11 minutes, St. Cloud State outscored the Dragons 31-14 to cut the lead to two before MSUM regained the momentum late for the win.

Vaughan finished with three points, three assists and three steals for MSUM. Freshman Damien Reinke also hit a big three in the first half to help the Dragons build their lead.

MSUM is off until Dec. 29 when it hosts Viterbo for a 2 p.m. nonconference game.

Steve d'Eustachio Stat of the Game: Tonight's win snapped a nine-game losing streak versus St. Cloud State. The last time the Dragons beat the Huskies was an 86-84 overtime win in Moorhead, in Dec. 1997.
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