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Tigers' defense stifles Saints in 69-36 win

DWU’s Tate Martin (11), a Mitchell native, shoots over Presentation College’s Terry Strong in the Tigers 69-36 win over the Saints Tuesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team got a couple of weapons back in its 69-36 win over Presentation College Tuesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

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The Tigers (2-0) saw the return of forward Jalen Voss and guard Luke Bamberg to the lineup after the duo missed the season-opening win for DWU on Monday against Trinity Bible College.

“Our guys had a lot more confidence knowing those guys would be available,” first-year coach Matt Wilber said about the return of Voss and Bamberg.

Voss and Bamberg played limited time, but the Tigers were able to get the ball moving inside and out with them back on the floor and did not have to rely heavily on the outside game.

The game was never in doubt against the Saints, as the Tigers continued the strong outside shooting they displayed one night prior.

DWU hit five first-half 3-pointers to take a 34-11 lead into the locker room.

Mitchell native Jade Miller lead the Tigers in scoring, pouring in 18 points 6-of-15 shooting.

“We wanted to come out with more energy after last night,” Miller said, adding that the addition of Voss and Bamberg in the lineup really opened things up for the Tigers.

The sophomore also hit three 3-pointers and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

“He has made such strides over the last couple of weeks in his mental game and he is going to continue to be more productive,” Wilber said of Miller.

Trae Bergh followed up his record setting 43-point night against Trinity with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while hitting three 3-pointers.

Tate Martin, also a Mitchell native, started at the point guard position for the Tigers and collected five assists and three steals in the win.

Martin is seeing extended time at the point with Bergh moving over the shooting guard position for the injured Kris Menning, who underwent surgery to repair a fractured thumb on his shooting hand Tuesday.

“Tate has had two very good games back to back,” Wibler said. “There is a lot for him to learn, but he is responding well everything that we’re throwing at him. Even if everyone is healthy, Tate is going to play starter minutes.”

Defensively the Tigers out-rebounded the Saints 47 to 29 and forced Presentation into 19 turnovers in the game.

“We normally get a lot of offensive boards and they did a great job of keeping us off the glass,” Presentation coach Jermey Reigle said after the loss. “We have had trouble turning the ball over and we have to a better job of cleaning that up.”

The Saints (0-1) had trouble finding the bottom of the net against a tight DWU defense. Presentation shot just 21.7 percent from the field, making just 10 field goals as a team.

Anthony Hendricks led the Saints in scoring with seven points, all of which came from the free-throw line. Hendricks added a team-high four rebounds and two steals.

Mitchell native Trevor Flemmer got into the game for the Saints. Flemmer finished picked up a rebound in four minutes for Presentation.

The Tigers will continue their early season home stand with the DWU Fulton State Bank Classic Friday and Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

“We’ve got a big boy weekend coming up,” Wilber said of his team’s upcoming schedule. “We have to keep our composure out there and prove we can do what we’ve been doing when we aren’t up by 30. Our depth has to be ready to contribute when called on.”

DWU plays Bellevue College at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

The Saints play their home opener against Grace University at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Aberdeen.

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