Defense, rebounding paves Tigers’ three-game win streakWith a win tonight, the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team can wrap up its January schedule with a winning record.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
With a win tonight, the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team can wrap up its January schedule with a winning record.
The Tigers (12-12, 7-7 GPAC) are on a three-game winning streak after defeating No. 12 Doane College Saturday in Crete, Neb. In January, DWU went 4-4 overall in the month with a 4-3 conference record. The Tigers, who have now had two three-game winning streaks this year, play Morningside at 8 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa, as their final conference game of the month. Morningside defeated DWU 80-69 at the Corn Palace earlier this year.
This season, the Tigers have never held a winning Great Plains Athletic Conference record but are back to even after their recent run.
“It’s been a good stretch for us,” DWU coach Shane Murphy said. “Now, it’s just, ‘Can we continue it?’ ”
Murphy said he’s been pleased with the team’s defense and rebounding during the winning stretch.
Defensively, the Tigers are allowing the fourth-most points in the conference at 74.63 points per game this year.
But during the winning streak, DWU has given up an average of 66.7 points per game, including holding Concordia to 63 points and Mount Marty to 54 points.
DWU is fourth in the conference in rebounding at 38 per game, behind Northwestern (42.41), Dordt (39.75) and Briar Cliff (38.71). The Tigers are led by sophomore forward Jalen Voss’ 9.83 rebounds per game, best in the GPAC.
On the offensive end, DWU is averaging 76.58 points per game, seventh in the 11-team GPAC. Northwestern leads the conference at 83.96 points per game and Mount Marty on the other end of the spectrum at 63.35 points per game, last in the GPAC.
“I feel like we’ve established roles on the offensive end as well,” Murphy said, referring to what’s caused the recent win streak.
In the last three games, guards Aireus Stephenson and Mike Lee have been large factors for the Tigers’ offense.
Lee led the team with 24 points against Doane and Stephenson had a team-best 20 points against Mount Marty. They’ve both finished in double-scoring figures in all three wins and are second and third, respectively, on the team in scoring. Voss leads the team at 14.3 points per game, Stephenson is at 13.8 points per game and Lee is at 12.1 points per game.
In the last three wins, Stephenson has averaged 18.7 points and Lee is at 17.3 points.
“Their play has definitely helped,” Murphy said. “But it’s not just them. All of the guards have been playing well.”