VCSU Men’s Basketball Defeats Mayville State in Overtime

TR Staff
Staff Writer

Special to Times-Record
VALLEY CITY – It took 24 lead changes and one overtime, but the Valley City State men’s basketball team sent its home crowd away happy one more time this season.
The Vikings scored the first 11 points of overtime Saturday as they knocked off Mayville State, 95-87, in the 2019 regular season finale.
VCSU forced overtime after Michael Cornelious scored inside with 16 seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 84-84. The Vikings scored on their second possession of overtime for the 24th lead change of the night, and then stifled the Comets the rest of the way. VCSU scored the first 11 points of overtime, opening up a 95-84 lead before allowing a late 3-pointer for the final margin.
“I’m extremely proud of our young group,” said VCSU head coach Ryan Montgomery. “They battled all night and shared the ball at a high level. We showed maturity down the stretch and beat a good senior loaded basketball team.”
Valley City State ends the regular season with a 9-18 overall record and a 5-9 mark in conference play. The Vikings finished the year strong, winning their final three conference games to climb to the No. 5 seed for the NSAA Postseason Tournament. VCSU will travel to No. 4 seed Dickinson State for the first round of the NSAA Tournament on Wednesday. The Vikings and Blue Hawks split their two games this season.
Mayville State ends the regular season at 17-8 overall and 9-5 in the North Star Athletic Association. The Comets are the No. 3 seed for the NSAA Tournament and will host No. 6 Viterbo for a first round game on Wednesday. The winners of Wednesday’s first round games will move on to the NSAA Final Four, which will be played Saturday and Sunday in Watertown, S.D.
Saturday’s game between the Vikings and Comets was well-worth the price of admission. The teams were tied 14 times and the lead changed hands 24 different times. Both teams scorched the nets in the first half with the Vikings holding a 47-46 lead at the break. VCSU shot 56 percent in the first half while Mayville State shot 62 percent.
Neither team was able to create much separation in the second half. In fact, the largest lead over the final nine minutes of regulation was just two points.
A basket by Denzel Kennedy and a free throw from Connor Entzi on the next possession put the Vikings up 82-80 with 2:26 to go. Mayville State scored the next four points, including a basket inside by Eric Staebler that gave the Comets an 84-82 advantage with 90 seconds left. Both teams traded fruitless possessions before Cornelious sliced down the left side of the lane and tied the game at 84-84 with 16 seconds to go. VCSU’s defense then forced a turnover in the final seconds, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Kennedy gave the Vikings the lead for good with his basket inside at the 3:46 mark. Jake Skelly made it a five-point advantage with a 3-pointer at 2:00 on the clock, and then Cornelious scored the dagger basket inside with 46 seconds left for a 91-84 lead. Mayville State went just 1-for-11 shooting in overtime.
VCSU sophomore Connor Entzi scored 14 first-half points and 24 in the game to lead four Vikings in double figures. Entzi had seven rebounds to go along with his game-high 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Logan Nelson scored 17 second-half points – including 10 straight early in the half – as he finished with 21 points and six rebounds.
Cornelious totaled 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Skelly finished with 14 points and five assists for the Vikings. Kennedy had a strong contribution off the bench with six points and seven rebounds, and both Logan Miller and Hunter McCalla hit 3-pointers and finished with five points. VCSU’s lone senior, Christian Kvilvang, was honored in a quick Senior Day ceremony before the tipoff. He returned from injury to play for the first time in a few weeks, knocking down a big first-half 3-pointer for the Vikings.
Kobe Critchley made three 3-pointers and finished with a team-high five assists for the Comets. Gorg Alhog scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and Daniel Lindgren added 15 points.
VCSU finished the game at 54 percent shooting overall (37-68), 39 percent on 3’s (9-23) and 75 percent at the line (12-16). Mayville State shot 47 percent overall (34-73), 41 percent on 3’s (12-29) and 78 percent on free throws (7-9). Mayville State had a 37-31 rebounding advantage, including an 8-2 edge on the glass.
The Vikings finished with 16 assists and 11 turnovers, while Mayville State totaled 15 assists and 14 turnovers.
Up next: Valley City State travels to Dickinson State on Wednesday for the first round of the NSAA Tournament. Mayville State hosts Viterbo on Wednesday for a first round game.