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Tiger men pick up first GPAC win

DWU junior forward Jalen Voss dunks the ball during the first half of a conference game against Doane Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

After a handful of close losses, Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball broke through with an 85-78 win over Doane College for its first Great Plains Athletic Conference victory of the year.

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“We’ve been hungry for this win,” DWU’s Jalen Voss said.

DWU (6-7, 1-4 GPAC) jumped all over Doane (6-7, 1-6 GPAC) in the first half, with Voss leading the charge, scoring 23 of his team-high 27 points before halftime. He shot 9 of 12 from the field and 8 of 11 from the free-throw line, while also pulling down six rebounds.

“In the first half I made my first few shots and when that happens, things tend to open up,” Voss said.

DWU had lost its previous five games by an average of seven points.

“It was one of those games where it was like a big-time must win,” first-year DWU coach Matt Wilber said. “It would have been real easy for our guys to come out and play tight, but I’m really proud of how we played free and confident.”

Mitchell native Tate Martin took over the scoring responsibility for DWU in the second half as Doane fought back and shut down Voss with double teams. Martin scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to help secure the win. The freshman point guard was 6 of 6 at the free-throw line, with three assists.

Four minutes into the second half, DWU took an 18-point lead before Doane went on a 12-to-1 run to close the gap. Martin poured in 12 points for DWU the rest of the way to keep his team on top.

“Doane started doing some different things in the second half, but our guys step up and made big plays they had to,” Wilber said.

In his second game back from a preseason hand injury, DWU’s Kris Menning scored nine, including hitting all six of his free-throw attempts.

Stephen Lee, Anthony Muilenburg and Trae Bergh each added eight points for DWU, while Lee pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.

Muilenburg, a former DWU football star, left the game with and leg injury late in the second half. He shook it off quickly and returned to finish the game.

Nick Reed, who scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, led Doane. Deonte Holt added 15 points for Doane, while Nate Kuhl had eight points.

“Every conference game is tough in this league,” said Doane coach Jim Weeks. “DWU is a better team than their record shows.”

DWU outrebounded Doane 31 to 21, while Doane won the turnover battle 13 to 10. DWU made 24 of 31 free-throw attempts and hit 7 of 16 3-pointers. Doane made 12 of 16 free throws and 8 of 16 3-pointers.

Up next for DWU is a rematch with Presentation College at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Abredeen. DWU routed the Saints 69-36 on Nov. 5.

“This win was the first step in a three step play heading into the Christmas break,” Voss said about DWU’s upcoming schedule.

Doane plays Northwestern College at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Crete, Neb.

Doane College 78

Dakota Wesleyan 85

DWU (6-7, 1-4 GPAC)

Jalen Voss 9-12 8-11 27; Luke Bamberg 2-5 0-0 4; Trae Bergh 3-6 0-0 8; Tate Martin 5-7 6-6 16; Jade Miller 2-4 0-0 5; Kris Menning 1-5 6-6 9; Anthony Muilenburg 3-6 1-2 8; Stephen Lee 2-2 3-6 8; Totals 27-47 24-31 85.

DC (6-7, 1-6 GPAC)

Nate Kuhl 3-4 1-2 8; Deonte Holt 4-12 5-5 15; Zach Hunt 2-4 0-0 5; Nick Reed 11-17 4-8 28; David McDonald 1-2 0-0 2; Dominique Smith 3-7 1-2 7; Kyle Carper 1-2 1-2 3; Sam Schlautman 2-2 0-0 6; Diante Andrews 2-2 0-0 4; Brian Bayer 0-2 0-0 0; Totals 29-54 12-19 78.

Halftime: DWU 46-31. 3-point field goals: DWU 7-16 (Bergh 2), DC 8-16 (Holt 2, Reed 2, Schlautman 2). Rebounds: DWU 31 (Lee 7, Voss 6), DC 21 (Kuhl 4). Assists: DWU 15 (Menning 4, Martin 3, Muilenburg 3), DC 10 (Reed 4). Steals: DWU 6 (Martin 2, Muilenburg 2), DC 4 (Andrews 2). Turnovers: DWU 13 (Voss 3, Martin 3), DC 11 (Kuhl 3). Personal fouls: DWU 15, DC 25.