UMary men’s basketball: Poor 3-point shooting performance doesn’t stop Marauders from conference win

The University of Mary men’s basketball team shrugged off a 12.5 shooting percentage from beyond the arc and grinded out a 65-58 win over Minot State. The Marauders picked up their first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win of the season and extended its winning streak to three games after starting the year 0-3.

Offensive rebounding machine: With 6:55 to play in the second half Lucas Mayer grabbed an offensive rebound and quickly put the basketball up for two points to give UMary a 48-46 lead. Almost two minutes later, Mayer corralled another key offensive rebound and laid it in for another two points to give the Marauders a 50-48 lead. The UMary sophomore forward finished with six points and three rebounds (all offensive) in 21 minutes of play. The Marauders finished with nine offensive rebounds and now have recorded seven or more in every game this season. Rebound gets overlooked sometimes but grabbing offensive rebounds give your team another offensive possessions and basketball is a game of possessions. Connor Hellebust finished with a team-high seven rebounds as Matthew Kreklow added six.

Looking more mature: More than of UMary’s roster is underclassmen. Four sophomore’s and a redshirt freshman played against MSU but the Marauders looked more mature at times. Last year when UMary was in a close game with under four minutes to play, the game usually didn’t end in a positive result for Joe Kittell’s squad. But with 3:55 to go and a tied 52-52 contest, a Tommy Kubank 3-pointer, two free throws by Kreklow and a jumper by Jaylan White gave UMary a 59-52 lead with 1:25 to play and they never looked back. This team will continue to grow but after starting the season with three straight losses, these last three wins look pretty damn good.

3-pointers don’t fall again: After posting double-digit made 3-pointers in their last two games, the Marauders struggled from beyond the arc against the Beavers. UMary finished just 3 of 24 in a game where it didn’t feel like they took at many shots from long range. I really felt like all 24 shots were good, clean looks and it really helps to have Kreklow in the paint because he causes double teams and has solid enough vision to find shooters on the outside. However, shooting 25-ish 3-pointers and making less than a handful and getting a win isn’t going to be a sustainable formula moving forward.

BONUS — Should’ve been less than 58 points: UMary’s defense has been outstanding this season. They lead the NSIC in scoring defense with 56.8 points per game and have only allowed more than 60 points once this season. UMary gave 12 points to MSU that I really feel could’ve came off the scoreboard. Twelve points may seem like a lot but considering the Marauders had to double down on 6-foot-7 David Akibo a lot during the game, it left a fair amount of open looks for the Beavers shooters. Every unit is playing as a team defensively and that’s something to hang their hats on.

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