DWU men fall to Morningside 80-69It all starts on the defensive end for Dakota Wesleyan University.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
It all starts on the defensive end for Dakota Wesleyan University.
And as Morningside continued to cut to the basket for easy lay-ins, and the Tigers couldn’t respond, it led to a frustrating first half for Wesleyan.
“Nothing went right, we just felt dead,” guard Luke Bamberg said after the Tigers fell 80-69 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday at the Corn Palace. “That was probably one of the toughest ones just trying to get going.”
In the first 20 minutes, the Tigers hit eight of their 26 field goals for 30 percent and committed 10 turnovers. Aireus Stephenson, who finished with a team-best 16 points, knocked down a 3-pointer about six minutes into the contest to tie it at 9.
After Morningside’s Trent Miller scored a coast-to-coast layup about a minute later, DWU never led again.
“I thought we were getting really good looks in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we just weren’t knocking them down,” Tigers coach Shane Murphy said. “If this group has to have shots go in for it to be all roses, it’s going to be tough.”
Miller finished with 10 points and 10 assists for Morningside. He kept the team cruising offensively all game, helping the Mustangs have four players in double-digit scoring figures. Danny Rudeen finished with a game-high 20 points.
Headed into the game, Morningside coach Jim Sykes’ plan was to keep the Tigers out of their comfort zone. The Mustangs easily did that.
“We had to put tremendous pressure on the ball and deny the wings,” said Sykes, whose team is 3-1 in the GPAC and 5-5 overall. “The first 20 minutes, we did a good job of that. We kind of settled into what we wanted to do, and we did it pretty well, I thought.”
Morningside, which shot 52 percent from the field in the game, led by 11 at halftime. The Mustangs finished with 11 turnovers to the Tigers’ 18.
Wesleyan trailed by 19 with 13:04 left to play, but the Tigers got a nice run — highlighted by a Kris Menning base-line jumper, a Jade Miller three-point play and lay-ins from Bo LaCroix and Bamberg — to pull within 52-42.
But Morningside’s outside shooters started knocking down shots to go ahead by 23 points. Wesleyan’s full-court press that started with about five minute to play helped the Tigers get within 10 with 1:12 to go, but it wasn’t enough.
“We have to start growing up and playing better basketball, or it’s going to continue to be like this,” Murphy said.
The Tigers got another nice game from Voss, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. LaCroix had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Bamberg had eight rebounds and seven points.
Wesleyan, which defeated Hastings College Saturday for its first league win, drops to 4-6 overall and 1-3 in the GPAC. The Tigers look to get their first conference road win of the year in their next game, when they play Concordia at 4 p.m. Saturday in Seward, Neb.
DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY 69
Morningside (5-5, 3-1 GPAC)
Danny Rudeen 8-16 2-3 20, Trent Miller 4-6 2-3 10, Tanner Ferguson 4-6 2-2 13, Ryan Strand 3-7 2-2 8, Drew Dau 3-8 3-3 9, Tanner Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Tyler Johnson 1-3 0-0 3, Kyle Nikkel 7-9 1-2 15. Totals: 31-59 12-15 80.
DWU (4-6, 1-3 GPAC)
Mike Lee 2-11 3-4 8, Danny Maman 2-5 0-0 6, Luke Bamberg 3-6 1-2 7, Aireus Stephenson 5-11 4-4 16, Jalen Voss 2-3 6-7 10, Carde Pennington 1-5 0-1 3, Kris Menning 2-2 0-0 5, Bo LaCroix 5-8 0-0 11, Stephen Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Jade Miller 1-5 1-1 69.
Halftime: Morningside 32-21. 3-point goals: Morningside 6-14 (Ferguson 3, Rudeen 2, Johnson 1), DWU 8-22 (Stephenson 2, Maman 2, Lee 1, Pennington 1, Menning 1, LaCroix 1). Rebounds: Morningside 29 (Rudeen 5, Nikkel 5), DWU 36 (Voss 10). Assists: Morningside 22 (Miller 10), DWU 11 (Pennington 4). Total fouls: Morningside 17, DWU 16. Technical fouls: None.