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Menning leads white team to victory in DWU scrimmage

Dakota Wesleyan University guard Trae Bergh, left, steals the ball from Danny Maman, right, during an intrasquad scrimmage at the Sanford Pentagon Thursday in Sioux Falls. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS — Just four days into practice, Corsica native and Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball player Kris Menning has impressed head coach Matt Wilber and DWU fans.

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The junior guard electrified DWU supporters with a 26-point performance to lead the DWU white team to a 79-76 win over the DWU black team during a scrimmage Thursday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

“It was really fun to get in here and play at the Pentagon,” Menning said. “We set good screens and I was lucky enough to knock down a few of the open shots. This was a great experience and it may be one of the most exciting places we play all year.”

Sanford Pentagon Director of Operations Brad Coleman said he wasn’t certain how many fans attended the game because the event was free. Coleman estimated there was close to 250 people in attendance.

The white team trailed 65-59 with seven minutes to go in the game, but the squad rallied, going on a 13-2 run to take the lead and hold off the black team.

The black team was coached by Wilber, while assistant coach Tim Weidenbach coached the white team.

“They needed somebody to come in and do a test run,” Wilber said, adding he thought Tigers were the first college basketball team to play a full-court game in the venue. “I used to work at Sanford, so the connections I made there paid off. They called me and asked me if our team would do it and that is how it happened.”

The first-year DWU coach said he was intrigued by the players’ effort Thursday.

“I liked our energy,” Wilber said. “We knew coming in that it could be rough with our situations at times. I am proud of our guys.”

Wilber also had high praise for returning players, including Menning and Jalen Voss. He was also impressed with the play of newcomers Branden Robinson, a sophomore guard from Detroit, and Mitchell native Tate Martin, a guard.

“It’s pretty obvious to me that Kris Menning had a good offseason,” Wilber said. “He was really good tonight.”

Voss led the way for the black team with 19 points.

The Tigers open their season against South Dakota State University Nov. 1 in an exhibition match at Frost Arena in Brookings. DWU’s home opener is Nov. 4 against Trinity Bible College at the Corn Palace.