WSU men's basketball story lines - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports


WSU men's basketball story lines


Winona, MINNESOTA  1: Winona State will open its season with three games in Puerto Rico. The Warriors will take on American University on Nov. 8 before playing Puerto Rico-Bayamon on Nov. 11 and Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras on Nov. 12. All three games will begin at 6 pm CST.

2: The Warriors played a pair of exhibition games last week, falling to Illinois Wesleyan 94-81 before beating Wisconsin-Stout 83-56. Freshman Riley Bambenek led the team in scoring in both games, netting 22 against Illinois Wesleyan and 17 against UW-Stout. Isaiah Gray was also in double figures in both games, scoring 19 against IWU and 11 against UW-Stout.
3: The Warriors went 27-8 last season, advancing to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the fourth time in program history. Clayton Vette was named the NABC National Player of the Year after averaging 20.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. The Warriors claimed the fourth Regional Championship in the last eight years, culminating with an overtime victory over Minnesota State in the regional championship game.
4: WSU returns a pair of senior starters, with point guard Taylor Cameron and forward Kellen Taylor back in the team's lineup. Cameron averaged 10.5 points per game last year and improved as the season went on, earning all-tournament honors at the NCAA Regional Championship. Taylor scored 6.5 points per game while shooting better than 47 percent from behind the 3-point line.
5: Winona State will be young, with five of the 12 players on the roster freshmen. Three others are sophomores, meaning two-thirds of the Warrior squad are underclassmen. Josh Mongan, Riley Bambenek, Isaiah Gray and Kyle Bauman all redshirted their initial season last year and are joined by Corey Jeffs in WSU's freshman class.
6: Winona State begins the season ranked 20th in the NABC Coaches Poll and 25th in the Division II Bulletin national top-25. WSU has been ranked to begin a season in six of the last seven campaigns.
7: WSU has made at least one 3-point basket in 414 consecutive games. The last time a Warrior squad did not make a 3-pointer came on Nov. 29, 2000 in a 79-57 win over Saint Mary's.
8: Winona State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last nine seasons and nine times overall under head coach Mike Leaf. The Warriors claimed the NCAA Regional Championship in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013 while winning national titles in 2006 and 2008.
9: The Warriors led the NSIC in field goal percentage defense (.402) and limited their opponents to an average of 65.4 points per game, third best in the league. The team allowed 70 points just ten times (with four of those totals coming in overtime contests) and has held 14 of its opponents to 60 points or less.
10: WSU head coach Mike Leaf is one of the best coaches in the game, as his 315 victories and .723 winning percentage entering the 2013-14 season proves. Leaf's winning percentage is the ninth-best among active NCAA Division II coaches and the 23rd-best all-time entering the year. Leaf is Winona State's all-time leader in wins with 342 and in winning percentage at .723.
Story courtesy of Grant Wall, WSU Sports Information
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