Minnesota State Mankato tops West Texas A&M in D-II semifinals

Both Minnesota State Mankato basketball teams will be playing for national championships.

Malik Willingham scored 19 points, Justin Eagins scored 18 and Dylan Peters had 17 points and 12 rebounds as Minnesota State Mankato defeated West Texas A&M 79-72 in the semifinals of the Division II men's basketball tournament on Thursday in Evansville, Ind.

The Mavericks (34-2), who won their 15th consecutive game, will play defending D-II champion Nova Southeastern (32-2) in the championship game on Saturday. Nova Southeastern defeated Cal State San Bernardino 91-77 in the other semifinal.

The Mavericks, who led 43-35 at halftime, had a 13-point lead with 7:42 remaining. The Buffaloes got with 75-70 with 2:40 to play but couldn't get any closer.

Ahamed Mohammed scored 19 points to lead the Buffaloes (30-5), who are coached by former Winona State assistant coach Tom Brown.

Willingham scored 15 points in the first half as the Mavericks built a 43-35 halftime lead.

After the Mavericks scored the first four points of the second half to take a 47-35 lead, the Buffaloes used a 14-2 run to tie the score, 49-49, with 13½ minutes remaining.

Over the next six minutes the Mavericks used a 17-4 run to open a 66-53 lead.

Nova Southeastern (32-2) takes a 20-game winning streak into the championship game. The Sharks went 36-0 en route to the championship last season.

* The Minnesota State women's team plays Texas Woman's at 7 p.m. Friday for the D-II championship in St. Joseph, Mo. The Mavericks will be playing for the title for the first time since last winning it all in 2009, when they beat Franklin Pierce 103-94 in the highest-scoring championship game in D-II women's history.

Friday's championship game is a rematch from Nov. 4 in Billings, Mont., when the Mavericks lost 76-71 after getting outscored by Texas Women's 22-15 in the fourth quarter.

U baseball opens Big Ten play

The Gophers baseball team will open its Big Ten schedule Friday with the first of a three-game series at Iowa.

The Gophers (10-10) won two of three games at San Francisco last weekend.

The Hawkeyes (13-10, 2-1 Big Ten) , who won a school-record 44 games last season, were the favorite in the Big Ten preseason poll. The Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play last weekend winning two of three at Purdue. After losing the opener, 10-3, the Hawkeyes won 4-3 and 9-6.The Hawkeyes are 7-0 at home this season.

John Anderson, who is in his 43rd season as the Gophers coach, has announced he will retire at the end of the season.


• Gophers freshman diver YuTong Wang was named a first-team All-America after finishing eighth in the 1 meter with 348.50 points at the NCAA swimming and diving championships in Indianapolis. Junior swimmer Bar Soloveychik placed ninth in the 500 freestyle at 4:12.20 to earn All-America honorable mention honors.

• Gophers volleyball coach Keegan Cook has been named an assistant coach for the USA U-19 NORCECA girls volleyball team. The team will compete in July in Honduras. That tournament is a qualifier for the 20215 FIVB World Championship.

• St. Thomas named Matt Bos as the coach of its men's and women's swimming and diving teams. Bos, who has previously coached at IUPUI, Eastern Illinois and Concordia (St. Paul), replaces Scott Blanchard, who resigned following 13 years with the program.

• Augustana named former Ellsworth standout Cody Schilling its men's basketball coach. Schilling, who played for Augustana and was an assistant coach the past three seasons, replaces Tom Billeter, who resigned after 21 seasons to become the coach at Emporia State.