Wesleyan men in California for pair of nonconference gamesThe Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team is trying to mix business with pleasure while on the West Coast.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team is trying to mix business with pleasure while on the West Coast.
The Tigers ventured to San Diego to play two games and enjoy a little fun in the sun this weekend.
“We want to play good basketball and stay focused on the court, and we want the guys to have fun as well,” DWU head coach Shane Murphy said. “We took them out to the beach and we might try to tour one of the naval ships.
“Then for the next two days, our focus will be strictly on basketball. We will have one day off after the games are over, and I’ll let the guys decide what they want to do.”
Taking trips to warmer climates at the end of December has been a mission for Murphy since arriving at Wesleyan.
“Being in South Dakota we get a lot of cold weather, so I try to usually pick some warm weather spots,” said Murphy, who took his squad to Miami two years ago to play in the Miami Garden Classic. “We do a lot of fundraising. It’s a goal of mine to take guys on a trip every other year.”
Last season the Tigers stayed in state in December when they played in the Black Hills Classic. While this year is not an annual classic, it is still a pair of midseason matchups against opponents that will propel Dakota Wesleyan into the second half of their season.
After cruising to an 85-71 victory over nonconference opponent Kansas Wesleyan, the DWU men took a break from basketball for eight days.
Long enough, Murphy said.
Now DWU hits the court against San Diego Christian at 9:30 p.m. Central time tonight in San Diego.
The Hawks, 3-4 and also NAIA members, are led by Raphael Rodriguez, who is averaging 13.1 points per game, to top the team in scoring. Kevin Dawson is close behind, averaging 12.1 points to go along with 5.7 rebounds per game.
“I know that San Diego Christian has played a lot of good teams, so I expect it to be a good matchup,” Murphy said.
After doing battle with San Diego Christian, DWU tangles with California Baptist College Saturday.
The Lancers (6-2) are members of the NCAA’s Division II and have five players who are averaging double figures, headlined by the front court duo of forward Anthony Cosentino and center Luke Evans.
Cosentino leads California Baptist in scoring at 17 points per game. Evans is at 15.6 points per game. Both players are averaging seven rebounds per game.
Murphy said he doesn’t know much about California Baptist, but said if his team is going to successful out west it would have to do three things well.
“We have to defend really well, we have to take care of the ball and make sure we get some different looks,” Murphy said. “When you are on the road in tough environments, being able to do those three things can help your outing.”