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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Maverick basketball advances to D-2 Elite Eight

Tourney starts March 23

Maverick basketball team advances to NCAA Elite Eight.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Intercollegiate Athletics news release [3/15/2011]

Men's Basketball Central Regional Champions 2011 Minnesota State University MavericksThe men’s basketball team used a 26-point, 17-rebound effort from senior wing Jefferson Mason and a career-high 13 assists from senior guard Marcus Hill enroute to an 81-63 victory over Fort Lewis College in the Regional final of the 2011 NCAA Central Region.

The Mavericks advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II tournament Wednesday, March 23, in Springfield, Mass., where they will face Alabama Huntsville at 2:30 p.m. (EDT).

Some 3,926 fans attended Tuesday night's game -- the sixth-largest crowd in Taylor Center history.

“I couldn’t be more happy for this team,” said head coach Matt Margenthaler. “This is the best group I have had come through here during my time and these five seniors have put so much into this program.”

The Mavericks earned a 2-0 lead before a single second ticked off the clock. An administrative technical on Fort Lewis sent Hill to the foul line where he proceeded to make two free throws before the tip-off.

In a first half filled with runs by both teams, the Mavericks struck first as senior Cameron Hodges scored seven straight points, giving Minnesota State Mankato a 12-9 lead. The Mavs then went on a 15-7 run, extending their lead to 25-16.

Fort Lewis then started a 9-0 run, highlighted by two three-pointers by David Kanyinda, tying the score at 25.

But the Mavericks didn't allow the Skyhawk rally to last; Mason’s dunk at 6:40 pushed the Maverick lead to six. Mason followed with an tip-in from an offensive rebound, giving the Mavericks a 35-26 advantage.

Minnesota State Mankato continued to dominate with a 15-5 run before Fort Lewis put together back-to-back layups, cutting the lead to eight. The Mavericks took a 44-34 lead into halftime as freshman Connor O’Brien tipped in a missed Hill layup at the buzzer.

Mason’s 14 points and nine rebounds led the Mavs in the first half, while Hodges added 13. The Skyhawks also had two players with first-half double digits: Kanyinda scored 12 and Daniel Steffensen added 10.

Minnesota State Mankato maintained a 10-plus lead throughout the second half as Hodges hit a jumper before Mason’s breakaway dunk gave the Mavericks a 48-34 lead. Senior Joe Drapcho made his presence felt at 9:24, connecting with back-to-back three pointers for a 65-49 Maverick lead.

Both Mason and Hodges reached the 20-point mark late in the game. A Mason dunk sealed the victory at 1:30.

“This is humbling,” said Hodges. “The support we got from the fans, the university and the community tonight was amazing. I can’t thank them enough for how they have supported us.”

Mason, tournament MVP, paced the Mavericks with 26 points and 17 rebounds. His double-double is his ninth of the season; his 17 rebounds tied his career-high; and the game accounted for his 16th 20-plus performance this season.

Hodges and Hill also earned all-tournament honors. Hodges finished with 23 points and 6 rebounds, and Hill finished with 8 points, a career-high 13 assists and four rebounds.

Also scoring in double figures for the Mavericks was Drapcho with 12 points.

The Mavericks finished 27-of-55 from the floor (49.1 percent), while the Skyhawks went 24-of-60 (40.0 percent). The Mavericks also out-rebounded the Skyhawks 40-30.

Lansdowne led Fort Lewis with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Skyhawks ended their season with a 24-8 record.

To view the stats, click on's_Basketball/2010/reg7.htm.  To watch the Fort Lewis post-game press conference, go to

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