Men’s Basketball Team plays first game of NSIC Championship Wed.

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Men’s Basketball Team plays first game of NSIC Championship Wed.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SMSUMUSTANGS.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF SMSUMUSTANGS.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF SMSUMUSTANGS.COM

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Kicking off the first round of men’s basketball tournament action will be SMSU’s very own Mustangs, as they compete for the NSIC Tournament Championship title.

The game will be starting on Wed. Feb. 27 at Minnesota State Moorhead’s Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse facility with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m.

It will be a close matchup and both teams are eager for the win. SMSU (15-13) holds the South Division No. 5 seed, while MSUM (19-11) is sitting as the No. 4 seed for the North Division.

MSUM averaged 83 points on regular season play, and while all men do their part for the team, the Dragons have some prominent players that SMSU will need to cover close in order to secure the win. MSUM senior forward/center Addison Park averages 16.3 points per game, .788 from the charity stripe, and pulls some weight with 4.6 rebounds per match.

Freshman guard Gavin Baumgartner shows up on paper as a driving force for MSUM as well. Baumgartner averages 13.6 points per game, .810 from the free-throw line, and has an average of 5 rebounds per game.

SMSU isn’t showing up without key players of its own, however. People who have been following Mustang basketball know that senior guard Ryan Bruggeman is one of few players to score 2,000 points and is a powerhouse on the court. Dominating the stat sheets, he averages 25.4 points per game and maintains an average of .903 at the free-throw line.

MSUM will work hard to shut down Bruggeman- the Mustangs will need to work to keep him open and be prepared to distribute game-time responsibility through relying heavier on other team members.

These team members may include junior Nick Dufault, sophomore Kenny Byers, sophomore Braeden Hanson, and/or senior Michael Lee.

The winner of the Feb. 27 game will be moving on to the quarterfinals on Sun., Mar. 3 and will be facing off against the winner of Minnesota State Mankato or Bemidji State with a projected start time of 5:30 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Following that game, the semifinals will occur Mon. Mar. 4 night at 8 p.m. with the championship game on Tues. Mar. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

For further information relating to the NSIC Tournament, visit their website at www.northernsun.org.

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