The Minnesota State men’s basketball team earned its third straight win Saturday evening as it defeated the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds 93-68.
With the win, MSU improves to 3-1 on the season, while FPU falls to 1-4.
The first half saw the Mavericks maintain a lead for nearly 19 of the first 20 minutes. MSU built its biggest lead of the first half at 43-30 after a layup from senior Isaac Kreuer. FPU managed to sink four free throws in a row in the final three minutes to pull back within nine points of the Mavericks, but a pair of free throws from senior Charlie Brown with one second left gave the Mavericks a 45-34 lead heading into half.
As a team, Minnesota State shot 14-of-31 (.452) from the field, including a 6-of-14 (.429) showing from long range during the first half. The Mavericks also scored 12 points off of seven Sunbird turnovers.
Brown led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, while sophomores Cameron Kirksey and Kevin Krieger each tallied seven points. Krieger also hauled in four rebounds.
Toby Christensen paced the FPU offense with 11 points in the first half. As a team, the Sunbirds shot 46.4% from the field in the opening session. It also held a 15-14 advantage in rebounds.
The second half saw the Mavericks lead by double-digits throughout as the Sunbirds would get no closer than 10 points. Halfway through the second half, the Mavericks led by 18 at 69-51 after a layup from junior Cole Harper. MSU would lead by as many as 27 during the final 10 minutes as the Mavericks rolled to a 93-68 win.
Brown led all scorers with 22 points, marking his third straight game where he has surpassed the 20-point plateau. Harper added 15 points on a 7-of-8 showing from the field, while Kirksey added 13 points and seven rebounds. Krieger and senior Chris Kendrix each added 11 points as well.
As a team, Minnesota State shot 57.4% from the field, including a 10-of-24 (.417) performance from three point land. The Mavericks also shot 13-of-16 (.813) from the free throw line and held a 29-25 advantage in rebounds.
Jake Straughan and Sam Burt led the Sunbirds with 14 points each, while Christensen recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. as a team, FPU shot 44.8% from the field and 10-of-12 (.833) from the free throw line. The Sunbirds also committed 14 turnovers.
Minnesota State opens its home schedule on Saturday, Nov. 18, as it takes on St. Cloud State at Taylor Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.