SCSU men’s basketball cruises to win at UMD

DULUTH — St. Cloud State won its third straight game with an 81-66 NSIC victory over Minnesota-Duluth on Tuesday night. The Huskies (8-2 NSIC, 12-2 overall) led 36-32 at the half, but outscored the Bulldogs (2-8, 4-10) 45-34 in the second half.

“We opened up the second half playing really good defense,” SCSU head coach Kevin Schlagel said. “We had them commit some turnovers that led to some easy fast-break points for us. The first five minutes of the second half were about as well as we have played all season.”

Shaun Jensen led the Huskies with 19 points and four assists, Theo Rothstein had 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals and Damarius Cruz had 12 points. Cruz played well defensively, holding UMD’s leading scorer, Jake Hottenstine, to three points.

“Damarius is playing really well right now, especially defensively,” Schlagel said of Cruz. “He’s done a great job of taking key guys out of the game. That means an awful lot for us. He’s made himself a strong defender.”

The Huskies are host to No. 8 Minnesota State-Mankato at 8 p.m. Friday. It’s the only game of the regular season between the two old rivals.

“We know it’s a big game,” Schlagel said. “This is two of the better teams in the NSIC going at it. We don’t have to motivate our guys. Mankato has been our most natural rival over the years. To play them with something on the line just adds to everything.”

SCSU guard Kevin Levandoski didn’t play Tuesday due to a sprained ankle.

ST. CLOUD STATE (81)

Shaun Jensen 6-13 7-7 19 (4 assists), Damarius Cruz 5-11 0-0 12, Theo Rothstein 7-11 4-4 18 (7 rebounds, 4 steals), Connor Niehaus 2-7 2-2 7 (4 assists, 6 rebounds), Tim Bergstraser 1-5 3-4 5 (6 rebounds), Jordan Poydras 3-7 1-1 8, Preston McCourt 0-1 0-0 0, Nash Faulk 0-0 0-0 0, Jon Christensen 0-1 0-0 0, Tyson Kalien 3-5 0-0 8, Scott Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0, James Fort 1-2 0-0 2, Chris Larson 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: FG 28-63, FT 19-20, REB 34, PF 12, TO 11.

MINNESOTA-DULUTH (66)

Reece Zoelle 5-9 0-0 11, Calahan Skogman 1-5 2-2 5 (6 rebounds), Jake Hottenstine 1-4 1-2 3, Dylan Rodriguez 3-5 1-2 7, Brett Ervin 7-15 0-0 15, Austin Pohlen 2-2 0-0 4, Peter Crawford 3-5 3-4 9, Bryan Sprang 1-2 0-0 2, Ben Bucholz 1-1 0-0 3, Kristofer Jackson 3-5 0-1 6, Kurt Moody 0-0 0-0 0, Erik Powers 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: FG 27-54, FT 8-13, REB 31, PF 18, TO 20.

Halftime score: St. Cloud State 36, Minnesota-Duluth 32.

Andy Rennecke

About Andy Rennecke

A sports writer for the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times newspaper who covers St. Cloud State athletics with a focus on football, women's basketball and men's basketball. I also cover the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League. Follow Andy Rennecke at https://twitter.com/AndyRennecke
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