The Winona State University (WSU) men’s basketball team got its first conference victory of the year last Saturday when the Warriors held on to beat Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) 66-63.
Thanks to some hot shooting by the Warriors’ leading scorer, Connor Dillion, and rebounds by Drew Adams, WSU led 42-33 at halftime. But WSU has struggled to hold onto first-half leads so far this season, and the CSP Golden Bears came back strong in the second half, with Marcus Skeete and Jacob Everson picking up rebounds and knocking down baskets.
CSP tied it 56-56 with just over five minutes left. However, missed three-point attempts and too many fouls halted the Golden Bears’ comeback. In the closing minutes, WSU’s Sam Hytinen and Drew Connor sank enough of their free throws for WSU to regain the lead, 66-61. A jumper by Everson put the Bears within three with 40 seconds left, and CSP got off a flurry of shots, collecting offensive rebounds to keep their hopes alive until the final seconds, but the Golden Bears couldn’t sink any of them before time ran out.
WSU’s Connor Dillon had a season-high 27 points on the game, shooting 10-for-19. Skeete and Everson each had 21 points for CSP. WSU had 33 rebounds to CSP’s 26, and Luke Martens led the Warriors with eight rebounds.
WSU is now 6-2 overall (1-2 conference). The Warriors will have another chance to improve that conference record on Friday, when they host Southwest Minnesota State University at 7:30 p.m. at McCown Gym.