Kobe Mohwinkel tied a career-high six threes, leading all scorers with 22 points, as the Saints stayed undefeated, beating New Ulm 68-45 on Friday night in front an ugly Christmas sweater speckled crowd.
Mohwinkel started the game off with a three and buried another shortly after, which would extend the Saints lead to 13-8 early in the first half.
While the offense was clicking early, the defense made the difference in the first half, not allowing a field goal for over eight minutes of play.
In that time period, the Saints’ lead would blossom to 30-10, with the only points for New Ulm coming via the charity stripe for Caden Hames.
The Saints would also switch up their defense during that eight-minute stretch, changing from man-to-man to a half-court trap, that fell into a zone look.
“We just felt that we wanted to give a different look,” said head coach Spencer Monson.
For a fleeting moment in the first half, it looked as though New Ulm would be able to make the game competitive again, chipping the lead down to 30-18 following an 8-0 run by the Eagles. Derrick Halvorson would quickly put an end to that potential narrative, converting on a layup and a three-pointer in back-to-back possessions.
Daevon Anderson would close the half for the Saints with a driving layup, finishing with his left hand while being fouled. Anderson would connect on the ensuing free throw, and the Saints would take a 38-24 lead into the locker room.
Hames opened the second half with a bank-shot three, which drew exasperated groans from the home supporters. The home crowd would quickly forget that stroke of luck, as the continued to push their lead behind the strength of Parker Jones and Mohwinkel.
The lead swelled to 52-35 with just over 10 minutes left to play in the half.
Mohwinkel would put the final bow on his big night with two threes late in the second half before being subbed out. Jones would also hit a couple of flashy layups before being taken out in garbage time. Jones would finish the game with 18 points, being the only other Saint in double-figures.
But the night belonged to Mohwinkel.
“It’s always helpful when he shoots like that,” said Monson. “He’s a completely different player this year. He’s not settling for that three. He’s taking what the defense gives him. Tonight it was the three ball, last night it was the drive. He’s just so smart.”
The Saints showed no ill-effects of playing on the road last night, showing lots of energy early, and keeping New Ulm at bay.
“That was our number one key to the game tonight, was having energy,” said Monson. “This team is motivated right now. They’re hungry and I knew they’d come out with energy tonight.”
The Saints were able to force numerous New Ulm turnovers, a key factor in creating a large lead early on.
“That’s been our focus from day one in the season,” said Monson. “There hasn’t been any letdown.”
The loss moves New Ulm to 2-6 on the season.
Following a short break for Christmas, the 7-0 Saints are back in play for a holiday tournament to play Madelia.