DWU men stun No. 8-ranked DoaneThis was exactly how Mike Lee envisioned his team could play. Dakota Wesleyan University’s senior guard had three crucial baskets down the stretch Saturday, leading to the Tigers’ biggest win of the season to date.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
This was exactly how Mike Lee envisioned his team could play.
Dakota Wesleyan University’s senior guard had three crucial baskets down the stretch Saturday, leading to the Tigers’ biggest win of the season to date.
DWU stunned No. 8-ranked Doane College 75-72 Saturday at the Corn Palace for an enormous confidence-boosting Great Plains Athletic Conference victory.
“We played like we should have the whole season,” said Lee, who finished with a game-high 21 points and helped the Tigers pick up their sixth win in 13 games. “Hopefully, we sustain this.”
Coming off one of their most disappointing losses of the year Wednesday to Mount Marty College, the Tigers fell behind early to Doane, looking as if they would drop their second straight game.
But Tigers head coach Shane Murphy watched his team battle through adversity and rally in the second half.
Wesleyan trailed by 10 points with 18:35 to play, but a back-and-forth affair broke out after Tigers guard Aireus Stephenson paved the comeback with his impressive shooting skills.
Stephenson, a first-year player with DWU after transferring from South Dakota State, scored 11 straight points for Wesleyan during a four-minute stretch. His jumper with 12:07 to go got the Tigers within 51-47 and Carde Pennington’s 3-pointer two minutes later gave Wesleyan its first lead of the game.
Neither team led by more than five points from there, but Lee’s nearly identical off-balance shots on three straight scores kept the Tigers ahead late. His lay-in with 48.8 seconds left put DWU up 72-69, no doubt the biggest basket of the game.
“When Mike Lee is determined, aggressive and he wants to attack, he can get things done,” said Murphy, whose team trailed by as many as 12 in the first half.
Carde Pennington hit two free throws with 6.5 seconds left to regain the three-point edge, and Doane had a potential game-tying 3-pointer tipped by DWU forward Luke Bamberg to end the game.
“This was a real confidence boost,” Lee said. “We were kind of down.”
Wesleyan shot 54 percent from the field in the second half and only finished with 14 turnovers to Doane’s 19. Stephenson had 15 points, Pennington had 11 and Jalen Voss finished with 10. Bamberg led the way with eight rebounds.
“I thought the intensity was there out of all of our guys,” Murphy said. “Everybody contributed. It’s so good to see a group of guys battle and compete on the defensive end.”
Nick Reed’s 21 points and 14 rebounds led the way for Doane, which is 13-2 overall and 6-2 in the conference. Wesleyan held Doane to 36 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
The Tigers (6-7 overall, 3-4 GPAC) travel to play Kansas Wesleyan today in their first action since the big win.
When asked whether or not the team can stay up to this level of play, Lee said only, “Hopefully.”
DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY 75,
NO. 8 DOANE COLLEGE 72
DC (13-2, 6-2 GPAC)
Jens Scholl 5-8 3-3 15, Nick Reed 5-15 10-13 21, Shavontae Samuels 2-5 0-2 4, Connor Beranek 8-16 0-0 19, David McDonald 0-0 0-0 0, Domonique Smith 3-12 3-3 10, Austin Benson 1-2 0-0 3, Deonte Holt 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle Carper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-58 16-21 72.
DWU (6-7, 3-4 GPAC)
Mike Lee 6-12 8-9 21, Kris Menning 1-2 1-1 3, Luke Bamberg 0-3 0-0 0, Aireus Stephenson 6-15 0-0 15, Jalen Voss 3-8 4-7 10, Carde Pennington 3-5 3-4 11, Bo LaCroix 3-6 0-1 6, Danny Maman 3-5 2-3 9, Jade Miller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-57 18-25 75.
Halftime: Doane 39-31. Rebounds: DC 42 (Reed 14), DWU 31 (Bamberg 8). Assists: DC 13 (Samuels 6), DWU 13 (Pennington, Stephenson 3). Turnovers: DC 19, DWU 14. Total fouls: DC 23, DWU 16. Fouled Out: Samuels, DC. Technical fouls: Samuels, DC.