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DWU men hit floor against SDSU in exhibition

With the regular season starting Monday, the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team will get glimpse of where it is at when the Tigers face NCAA Division I South Dakota State University in an exhibition game at 8 tonight at Frost Arena in Brookings.

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The matchup with SDSU will be the first game on the DWU sidelines for new Tiger head coach Matt Wilber, who was a former assistant coach with the Jackrabbits.

“We are going up and obviously we are going to be an underdog, but it is going to be our first real competition under the lights,” Wilber said.

The Tigers are coming off a 14-17 season, which saw them 9-11 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, and an eighth seed in the conference tournament. DWU’s season ended in the first round with a loss to Northwestern College.

“We have a group that believe in each other and see they can do something special,” Wilber said.

Returning for the Tigers is junior forward Jalen Voss, who was an All-American honorable mention and first-team all-GPAC. Voss led DWU in scoring last season with 14.2 points per game, while also topping the Tigers with 9.9 rebounds per game and 44 total blocks.

Joining Voss in the starting lineup against the Jackrabbits will be a pair of Corsica natives, junior shooting guard Luke Bamberg and junior guard Kris Menning. Crooks native Trae Bergh will start at point guard for DWU, while Stephen Lee, a Viborg native, will be at the small forward position for the Tigers.

Wilber also plans to use a trio of former Mitchell Kernels — Tate Martin, Jade Miller and Matt Henriksen — for significant minutes in the game against SDSU. Martin, who transferred to DWU from the University of Mary last semester, will see time at point guard.

SDSU is coming off its second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, losing to eventual national runner-up Michigan in the second round last season.

The Jackrabbits are moving on without star Nate Wolters, who graduated and plays for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. SDSU is picked to finish third in the Summit League this season by the league’s coaches.

SDSU forward Jordan Dykstra is returning for his senior season after averaging 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last year.

“I know our guys are excited about the opponent and playing in the venue, but I am excited to see us compete and how we respond the kind of energy that SDSU will bring,” Wilber said.

Following the exhibition with SDSU, the Tigers have no time to rest as DWU hosts its first six games of the regular season the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The Tigers play eight games in 13 days from Nov. 4-16.