ABERDEEN, S.D. – Nick Smith scored the game-winning field goal with 2.9 seconds left to lift Southwest Minnesota State to a thrilling 62-61 victory over Northern State on Friday night in Aberdeen, S.D.
SMSU (9-9, 6-5 NSIC) never trailed in the game's first 39 minutes until NSU's Mack Arvidson gave the Wolves a 61-60 lead with a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining.
SMSU's Jordan Miller missed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the game, but the rebound went out of bounds off of NSU and keeping the ball with SMSU with nine seconds left. Moments later, Miller dropped a perfect pass to Smith for a layup to give SMSU the lead 62-61 lead.
@NSU (13-5, 8-3 NSIC) turned the ball over on the ensuing in-bounds pass to give the ball back to SMSU and seal the victory.
@SMSU, which has lost five NSIC games this season, despite holding the lead in all five with three minutes or less remaining, was able to find a way to earn the victory tonight. The win was also SMSU's first on Friday night in six tries this season.
@Smith led SMSU with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting with four blocked shots, while Miller and Matt Zager each chipped in with 12 points. The Mustangs finished the night shooting 46 percent (24 of 52) from the field, including 2 of 9 from 3-point range.
@NSU was paced by Arvidson and Geoffrey Firmin, who both scored 11 points. NSU shot 41 percent in the game, but was just 7 of 22 from 3-point range. Both teams committed just nine turnovers, while NSU finished with a 38-32 rebound advantage.
@SMSU never trailed in the opening half and used a 6-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back field goals from Lavione West and Smith to build a 24-16 lead with six minutes remaining.
@Following an NSU field goal, SMSU used a Miller 3-point play and a William Giddings field goal to take its largest lead of the half at 29-18 with 1:15 left, before settling for a 31-24 halftime advantage.
@SMSU shot 45 percent (13 of 29) in the opening half and limited NSU to just 31 percent (10 of 32) shooting from the field, including 4 of 15 from 3-point range.
@The Mustangs maintained the lead for much of the second half, including 47-38 with 11 minutes remaining following a Miller basket. SMSU still held a 58-51 lead with four minutes left following a pair of Tramel Barnes free throws, before NSU reeled off seven straight points to tie the game with 1:48 left on a pair of free throws by Mitch White.
@On SMSU's ensuing possession, Miller missed a 3-pointer, but Zager came down with the rebound to give SMSU the lead back at 61-59 with 55 seconds remaining. NSU then answered with the 3-pointer for its first – and only – lead of the night.
@Southwest Minnesota State will conclude the weekend tomorrow night taking on MSU Moorhead with tip-off set for 6 p.m. in Moorhead, Minn.