Warrior Men Win Winona Battle With Saint Mary’s
There was no trophy to play for on November 21. It was also not a game that counted on the record of Saint Mary’s. For Winona State, it counted, but not in Conference or Region play.
There was, however, a lot on the line for both teams. For the Cardinals, it was one last chance to see what they have on their roster, before games count for them. For the Warriors, they had won the last 25 times these two teams had met, and had a chance to take the all-time series lead for the first time, since the first meeting of the two teams, back in 1916, when Winona State won 12-10.
After that meeting, Saint Mary’s would win 32 of the next 37 games, to take a 32-6 lead in the series, before they would trade wins for a while with the Warriors. The last time the Cardinals defeated the Warriors was in 1986.
All of that is ancient history, but the Warriors came out playing like recent history, shooting 55.6% from the field, compared to 25% for the Cardinals. Kyle Bauman had a great first half, scoring 11 points in 17 minutes of play. The Cardinals, meanwhile, were led by James Cullen, who played just 6 minutes in the first half, but sparked SMU by hitting the two three-point attempts he shot for 6 points.
The Warriors would never look back in the game, and finished with a 90-52 win. 6 Warriors finished in double-figure scoring. Bauman had 17 points, Riley Bambenek had 15, Connor Flack scored 13, Isaiah Gray had 11, and Tommy Gathje and Corey Jeffs both finished with 10.
Cullen would lead the Cardinals with 14 points, while Quashingm Smith-Pugh had a hard-fought 8 points. Smith-Pugh left the game for a time with an injury, but came back to become a force again for Saint Mary’s.
Smith-Pugh, and the Cardinals, shot well from the free throw line. Smith-Pugh was 6-of-10 from the line, and as a team, SMU went 12-17.
The Warriors now hold a 45-44 all-time series lead against the Cardinals, as well as a 2-0 record this season, and will be off until the day after Thanksgiving, when they compete in the Kentucky Wesleyan Classic against the host school.
The Cardinals will open their regular season on November 26th against Luther College of Iowa, at the SMU Gymnasium.
(Photo by Lindsay Oien)