USF falls in OT thriller to MSU-Mankato

SIOUX FALLS – Despite a double double of 27 points and 10 rebounds from Drew Guebert and 21 points from Trevon Evans, the University of Sioux Falls Men's Basketball Team (7-2, 2-1 NSIC) dropped an 87-84 overtime decision to Minnesota State (5-2, 3-0 NSIC) in a matchup of the two preseason Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference favorites at the Stewart Center on Saturday night.

USF trailed by 12 points with 16:59 to play in the second half before rallying to send the game into overtime on a three-point shot by Evans with 1.6 seconds left. In overtime, MSU outscored USF, 12-9 to take the win.

"I was really pleased with our effort because they laid it all out there tonight," said USF Head Coach Chris Johnson, who fell just short of registering his 200th career win. "We had a tough first half in which we shot just 29 percent and fell behind by just about 10 points. But that we fought back into this thing and down the stretch we made a series of big plays," he said. "We just didn't have enough at the end. But I am proud of this team because they will keep coming and coming and never quit."

Guebert, who hit 10-of-23 shots from the field, had his fourth career double double. A senior from Apple Valley, Minn., Guebert had three, three-pointers in nine attempts and played 44 minutes. With his point total, he moved into ninth all-time with 1,605 points at USF and past USF Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Luther Hippe, who had 1,589 points from 1983-87. Interestingly, Guebert surpassed Hippe in his 101st game at USF. Hippe's point total also occurred in 101 games.

Guebert also registered his 75th double-digit scoring game of his career and his 33rd, 20-point plus performance. Guebert has been on a role with six 20-point or higher games this season and a string of five straight (24, 27, 21, 28, 27).

Evans, who had just four points at halftime, turned it up in the second half with 17 points and finished at 21 with three assists, two steals and a rebound in 43 minutes. A senior from Wichita, Kan., Evans had his ninth straight game of double-digit points this season and recorded his 35th such game of his career. Additionally, Evans now has 22 games of 20 points or more.

Another player to provide important minutes and points was redshirt freshman Chase Grinde, who set a career-high with 17 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing two assists before fouling out. He was 4-of-6 from the field and 8-of-11 at the foul line.

USF.s big problem on Saturday was making shots consistently. USF hit just 29 percent in the first half (9-of-31) as they fell behind, 38-29. In the second half, USF was 15-of-25 for 60 percent in regulation but struggled to 2-of-14 for 14.3 percent in the overtime to finish at 37.1 percent (26-of-70) for the game. Of that total, USF made only 6-of-22 from three-point range.

While the Cougars owned a 43-to-30 rebounding edge with 19 offensive boards, MSU was able to hit 50.9 percent from the field on 28-of-55 shooting. The Mavericks, who made 24-of-32 from the foul line for 75 percent, made 7-of-16 shots from three-point range. MSU was led in scoring by Carlos Anderson, who had 30 points with eight rebounds while Juwan McCloud had 22 points.

MSU jumped to an early 10-3 lead at the 16:45 mark before USF battled back.

With an 11-4 run, which included four points from Grinde, the Cougars tied the game at 14 with 13:14 to play. However, the Cougars scored just five points over the next four minutes as MSU took a 26-19 advantage after an Anderson lay-up at the 7:17 mark.

As would become the trend on this night, MSU took a lead and USF fought back. With a 5-0 run, including a three-point play by Guebert, the Cougars drew within, 26-24 with 5:42 to play. Once again, MSU answered with three foul shots from Carter Asche as MSU took a 34-24 advantage with 3:04 to play. USF cut the lead to seven but dunk by McCloud provided MSU with a 38-29 lead at the break.

Early in the second half, MSU had a basket from McCloud for a 44-32 lead and 16:59 to play in the game. USF started its road back with a two jumpers from Guebert to cut the MSU lead to 50-43 with 12:41 on the clock. Two foul shots by Evans cut the lead to five at 52-47 with 10:54 to play. From there the lead shifted between five and eight points before the Cougars had a pair of foul shots from Grinde to draw within 60-58 (6:52, 2nd). USF finally took the lead after Evans converted a three-point play on a drive to the lane for a 67-66 advantage with 1:29 to play.

With the home crowd creating a deafening roar, MSU answered as Karson Arrenholz hit a three-pointer just 12 seconds later for a 69-67 lead. Two foul shots by McCloud helped MSU to a 73-68 lead with 18 ticks left. However, Evans made a lay-up and two foul shots to cut the deficit to 73-72 with five seconds to play.

After Tre Baumgardner hit two foul shots for the Mavericks, Evans took a shot from about 30 feet straight out from the basket and the shot was true to tie the game and force overtime. In the extra session, USF led just once on two foul shots by Aaron Rothermund with 4:13 to play. From there, Arrenholz made a lay-up (3:56, overtime) for a 78-77 advantage for MSU. USF was unable to gain the lead back as they made just two shots in overtime.

However, USF had one final shot at forcing second overtime. After USF's Teathloach Pal, who had five points and six rebounds, made 1-of-2 free throws, USF was able to grab the offensive rebound. Justin Taylor, who had five boards on the night, sent a pass to Evans and his shot was on line but just short as the Cougars dropped the heartbreaker.

Next for USF will be a road trip to Minnesota Dululth on Dec. 14 and St. Cloud State on Dec. 15.