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Tiger men fall to No. 12 Dordt, still in search of GPAC win

Dakota Wesleyan’s Luke Bamberg, right, fights for room in the post against Dordt’s Tyler Wolterstorff in the first half of a Great Plains Athletic Conference basketball game Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team is still looking for their first win in Great Plains Athletic Conference play after a 92-81 loss to No. 12 Dordt College Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

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After an energized performance in the in the opening 20 minutes of their first game at the Corn Palace in nearly a month, the Tigers (5-7, 0-4 GPAC) saw the Defenders pull away in the second half.

“My disappointment was with the mistakes I hadn’t seen out of my team until this point,” DWU first-year coach Matt Wilber said. “It got away from us.”

With the game tied at 48 early in the second half, Dordt went on a 20-7 run to pull away.

“I thought (Dordt) played a tremendous second half, they went on a run and we just had some crucial mistakes that pushed us deeper into a hole,” Wilber said.

The Defenders (13-1, 6-0 GPAC) scored at will in the second half, shooting 58.6 percent from the field and 71 percent from the behind the 3-point line after halftime.

After falling behind by as many as 22 points, DWU pulled to within nine with 3 minutes to go. The rally fell short however, as the Tigers could not put together enough stops defensively to overcome the large hole.

“Our biggest problem has been digging in and getting defensive stops,” Wilber said. “I have to a better job as the coach to put our players in better spots to make those stops.”

The energy at the Corn Palace was high for the DWU’s “Cram the Crib” night, and the Tigers got an additional boost from the return of guard Kris Menning from injury.

“He played very well for not practicing and that was the first game action he has seen since the injury,” Wilber said of Menning’s season debut.

Menning had been sidelined with a fractured thumb sustained in the Tigers preseason exhibition game against South Dakota State University on Nov. 1.

The Corsica native played 20 minutes, scoring 12 on 4-of-7 shooting.

“It was amazing to get back out there and playing with the team,” Menning said. “I missed my first couple of shots, but everyone just told me to keep shooting.”

He also made three 3-pointers and pulled down four rebounds in the loss.

Four other Tigers scored in double figures, including junior forward Jalen Voss, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Trae Bergh scored 13 points, while going 6 of 6 at the free throw line and adding four assists. Luke Bamberg added 13 points, and Mitchell native Tate Martin ended the game with 11 points and team-high seven assists.

Leading the Defenders’ offense was freshman forward Dalton Franken, who scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Franken also hit all four of his 3-point attempts.

Austin Katje shot 7-of-9 from the field and scored 20, while Kyle Lindbergh added 17 points and 17 rebounds for a double-double for Dordt.

“Our guys did a great job in the second half of settling in defensively,” Dordt coach Ross Douma said.

The Defenders imposed their will on the glass, outrebounding the Tigers 44 to 32.

“Everyone on that team goes to the glass and it makes it tough,” Wilber said of Dordt’s rebounding.

Dordt made 18 of its 22 free throw attempts, while DWU finished 19 of 24.

The Tigers look for their first GPAC win when they host Doane College at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Dordt College 92

Dakota Wesleyan 81

DWU (5-7, 0-4 GPAC)

Jalen Voss 6-10 7-10 20; Luke Bamberg 5-11 0-0 13; Trae Bergh 3-7 6-6 14; Tate Martin 3-9 3-3 11; Jade Miller 1-8 2-2 5; Kris Menning 4-7 1-2 12; Anthony Muilenburg 3-6 0-1 6; Stephen Lee 0-4 0-0 0.

DC (13-1, 6-0 GPAC)

Nathan Rindels 3-4 6-6 12; Austin Katje 7-9 3-3 20; Kyle Linbergh 6-24 5-7 17; Dalton Franken 9-11 0-0 22; Tyler Wolterstorff 2-8 3-4 7; Bryan Sumner 3-5 0-0 9; Patrick Knoblauch 0-0 0-0 0; Alex Terpstra 0-1 0-0 0; David Den Herder 2-4 1-2 5.

Halftime: DWU 42-40. 3-point field goals: DWU 12-29 (Menning 3, Bmberg 3), DC 10-16 (Franken 4, Katje 3). Rebound: DWU 32 (Voss 10, Miller 6), DC 44 (Lindbergh 17, Katje 9). Assists: DWU 16 (Martin 7, Bergh 4), DC 14 (Wolterstorff 4, Lindbergh 4). Steals: DWU 9 (Voss 3, Muilenburg 3), DC 5 (Lindbergh 2, Wolterstorff 2). Turnovers: DWU 12 (Miller 4, Martin 3), DC 13 (Rindels 3, Lindbergh 3). Personal fouls: DWU 17, DC 18.