Men survive St. Cloud comeback, advance to NSIC semifinals

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Wayne State College built a double-digit lead in the first half, then held off a late St. Cloud State rally to hang on for a 77-76 victory Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Northern Sun Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon.

The win snapped a 12-game losing streak to St. Cloud State dating back to 2011, but it wasn’t easy.

St. Cloud State jumped out to an early 10-4 advantage and led 15-11 at the 14:33 mark of the first half when the Wildcats went on an 18-3 run, capped by a Trevin Joseph 3-pointer, to build a 29-18 lead with 9:06 to go in the opening half.

St. Cloud pulled to within seven points before Wayne State used a six-point surge and led by double digits until a Gage Davis trey at the buzzer pulled the Huskies to within nine at the break, 48-39.

St. Cloud got as close as three points seven minutes into the second half, but the Wildcats were able to push the lead back up to double digits, as Joseph’s 3-pointer made it 69-59 with 4:10 to go.

St. Cloud wouldn’t go away, getting within two in the closing seconds before Vance Janssen hit two key free throws with 5.4 seconds to go to make it a four-point game. Davis, who set a tournament record with 47 points, hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left, but Kendall Jacks inbounded to Nick Ferrarini, who tossed the ball into the frontcourt as time ran out to give the Wildcats the win.

Jacks led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points and also had nine rebounds. Joseph added 19 points, Vance Janssen had 11 and Jordan Janssen had 10 points and a team-best 11 rebounds. Vance Janssen had four assists to move into fifth place on the school’s all-time career assists lists with 285.

Wayne State (21-9) faces Southwest Minnesota State Monday evening at 8 p.m. in the NSIC Sanford Health Tournament semi-finals at the Sanford Pentagon. The winner will take on either Northern State or Winona State in the finals on Tuesday.

The Wayne Herald

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