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Mayville eyes another DAC title, trip to nationals

Craig Smith is in his third season as the Mayville State men's basketball coach. He's also in his third season of making plans for another Mayville appearance in the NAIA Division II national tournament scheduled next week in Point Lookout, Mo. R...

Craig Smith is in his third season as the Mayville State men's basketball coach.

He's also in his third season of making plans for another Mayville appearance in the NAIA Division II national tournament scheduled next week in Point Lookout, Mo.

Regardless of the outcome of tonight's Dakota Athletic Conference title game between Mayville and South Dakota School of Mines, the Comets are expected to receive an automatic bid for the NAIA tournament next week in the Ozarks.

The winner of tonight's DAC championship game receives an automatic bid. Mayville, however, is ranked No. 15 in the latest NAIA Division II poll and should receive an at-large bid, regardless of what happens in the DAC tournament.

Mayville has won 10 of its last 11 games, its only loss a 78-72 setback against Mines in Rapid City, S.D. Mines made the title game with a semifinal win at Jamestown College.

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"Mines has a huge team," Smith said. "At some point, they'll have four guys 6-foot-5 or bigger on the court. They're bigger than us. They don't have any weaknesses."

Mayville advanced to the DAC title game with a 66-62 win against Valley City State on Saturday night, a game played before a big crowd in Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. Ron Howard led Mayville with 25 points, while Monty Rogers - an All-American last season - added 13 for the Comets.

Rogers, a 6-5 senior from Orem, Utah, averages 18.5 points per game, which ranks him second in DAC scoring.

"There's not much he can't do on the court," Smith said of Rogers.

Mayville is 22-8 entering tonight's game, while Mines is 16-14.

The Comets lead the DAC in scoring (84.2 ppg), rebounding (39.2 rpg), scoring margin (11.0 ppg), assists (16.8 apg) and steals (10.5 spg).

Mayville advanced to the quarterfinals of last season's NAIA tournament.

"Every year, our first goal is to get to the national tournament," Smith said. Glas enjoys

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his first season

Former UND men's basketball coach Rich Glas is wrapping up his first season as the Northern Iowa associate head coach. He left UND last year to join his former player, Ben Jacobson, at Northern Iowa.

Jacobson was named the Panthers' coach shortly after the end of last season, and the former Sioux standout immediately asked Glas to join his staff in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Northern Iowa finished the regular season at 18-12 and will play Bradley in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Thursday in St. Louis.

Glas, UND's all-time winningest coach, said his first season at the Division I school has been rewarding.

"It's been fun," Glas said Monday before the UNI practice. "The MVC is a great league. It's been a great chapter for me."

Glas spent 18 seasons as the UND coach. In his new role, the pressures of an associate head coach aren't as great.

"There is a big difference between the suggestion making and the decision making," Glas said. "I've enjoyed the suggestion making. I don't have to worry about the decision making. But I still enjoy the game. And I sleep better, too."

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Glas said Jacobson has done well in his first season as UNI head coach. "We were 15-4 at one point and everything was going well," Glas said. "Then we go 1-8. But Ben handled both instances very well. I'm proud of him."

UNI carries the fifth seed into the MVC tournament.

The Panthers will have to win the tournament to earn another trip to the NCAA tournament. A trip to the NIT may be in the works for UNI, but the Panthers may have to win a game or two to qualify. Northland to host

region tournament

It's been quite a season for the Northland Community and Technical College men's basketball program.

Northland will host the NJCAA Region XIII tournament Friday and Saturday in Thief River Falls. The Pioneers are two wins away from the school's first trip to the NJCAA national Division III tournament in Delhi, N.Y.

Northland won the Minnesota State Community College tournament over the weekend in Minneapolis with a 72-67 overtime win against Central Lakes Community College.

Central Lakes meets Mid-State Tech of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., at 6 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal, followed by the Northland-Minneapolis Community College game. The winners meet for the region title Saturday.

Northland is 25-4 on the season. The Pioneers have won 22 in a row.

"This is a bunch of guys who understand how to play together on both ends of the floor," Northland coach Rick Nikunen said. "This is a special group. They play hard. And they have talent."

Kyrk Freeman, a 5-foot-10 freshman from Canton, Ohio, leads Northland in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game. Trumaine Johnson, a 6-1 freshman guard from Ville Platte, La., averages 12.3 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds, while 6-8 Tomas Loberg of Grygla, Minn., averages 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds.

The team has only one sophomore, 6-3 point guard Brandon Fontes - a former Grand Forks Central standout who averages 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds.

A reason for Northland's success this season has been its defense. The Pioneers rank 11th in NJCAA Division III scoring defense, allowing 64.3 points per game. UMC edged from

NSIC playoffs

Minnesota-Crookston traveled to Fayette, Iowa, for its final Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game Saturday night against Upper Iowa.

Shortly after the UMC women's game against Upper Iowa, the power went out in Fayette.

The game was delayed until Sunday morning. The Golden Eagles won 73-62 as Joey Kollar and Eric Rongen led the way with 18 and 14 points, respectively. UMC's win left the Golden Eagles and Upper Iowa in a tie for eighth place in the NSIC. The top eight teams advance to the league tournament. Both UMC and Upper Iowa finished 2-16 in the league and 3-24 overall.

Upper Iowa, however, edged UMC for the eighth spot in the tournament after the NSIC went to the fourth tiebreaker - strength of schedule.

Upper Iowa will play Winona State - the defending Division II national champions - in Wednesday's first round.

Briefly

-- The North Dakota State athletic department will host its first Bison Showcase on April 9 in Fargo. The event, scheduled for Playmakers, will feature former Marshall head football coach Jack Lengyel. His experience as the Marshall coach was recently the subject of the movie "We are Marshall." Other events will include an open forum with NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor and women's athletic director Lynn Dorn. All 12 NDSU head coaches, assistant coaches and staff also will attend the event, sponsored by the NDSU Team Makers. The Showcase was designed to provide an opportunity for fans and members of the community a chance to make new connections with NDSU athletics.

-- Minnesota State-Moorhead wrestler Troy MacFarland finished fourth in Sunday's NCAA Division II North Central Region meet. MacFarland, a former Grand Forks Central wrestler, was one of six Moorhead wrestlers to advance to the Division II national meet. Minnesota State-Mankato won the title.

-- Eight Northland Community and Technical College football players have signed letters of intent at four-year schools for the 2007-08 season. Northland players who signed letters of intent at their new schools are Calvin Tolliver, quarterback, Delaware State; Bryan Lowry, defensive back, Northern Michigan; Chris Lee, defensive back, Northern Michigan; David McKee, running back, Morgan State; Jonathan Mitchel, lineman, Morgan State; Frank Leon, defensive tackle, Central Connecticut State; Dwaye Smith, offensive lineman, Morgan State; and Danny O'Neill, defensive back, Minnesota-Crookston.

Reach Nelson at 780-1268, (800) 477-6572 ext. 268 or wnelson@gfherald.com .

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