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DWU men pull away in second half for 102-85 win

Dakota Wesleyan’s Jalen Voss goes up for a shot over Northwestern’s Zack Leeper in the first half of a Great Plains Athletic Conference game Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Voss scored a game-high 33 and the Tigers won 102-85. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

After 17 lead changes, the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team finally pulled away for the win in the team’s final home game of the season Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

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The Tigers (15-13, 8-10 GPAC) used a 17-4 run early in the second half en route to a 102-85 win over Northwestern College (14-13, 7-10 GPAC) in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup.

“The first half was played very well on the offensive end by both teams and we just couldn’t get a stop,” first-year DWU coach Matt Wilber said. “I was very proud of how our guys stepped up defensively in the second half.”

The Tigers sit seventh in the GPAC standings. The top eight teams make the conference tournament, which is played at school sites of the higher seeded team.

Four players scored in double figures for DWU as the team scored more than 100 points for the first time this season in the win over the Raiders.

Jalen Voss poured in a game-high 33 points for the Tigers on 13-of-21 shooting, while grabbing 13 rebounds for the double-double and blocking three shots. “Our guys do a great job of getting Jalen the ball,” Wilber said. “When you have 23 assists on 33 made baskets you playing the game right.”

Trae Bergh added 20 points for DWU, with 16 coming in the second half as he saw extended playing time at the point guard position with Mitchell native Tate Martin in foul trouble. “We knew how big this game was for us heading down the stretch,” Bergh said. “I don’t think any of us have beat Northwestern in our career here, so this was huge.”

After falling into the student section following a hard foul in the second half while driving to the basket, Bergh was noticeably limping for the remainder of the contest, but said after the game he was just a little sore and should be fine going forward.

Kris Menning scored 17 points, including three 3-pointers, while Luke Bamberg added 11 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Mitchell native Jade Miller and Stephen Lee each scored nine points, giving the Tigers additional scoring and valuable minutes off the bench in the win.

The Tigers shot 33-of-63 from the field and 23-of-33 from the free-throw line. DWU outrebounded Northwestern 47-36 and turned the ball over 12 times.

“Down the stretch these games are going to be like this,” Wilber added. “I’m happy with what I am seeing from this team. I thinking we are a maturing basketball team.”

Northwestern also had four players score in double figures, led by Joey Habtemariam with 18 points, 14 coming in the first half. Jordan Baker added 17 points, while Zack Leeper and Rob Gill had 13 and 10, respectively.

The Raiders shot 34-of-77 from the field and 12-of-18 from the free-throw line, while turning the ball over six times.

The Tigers finish the regular season with two GPAC games on the road, starting with Hastings College at 4 p.m. Saturday in Hastings, Neb. DWU defeated the Broncos when Hastings was ranked No. 6 earlier this season at the Corn Palace.

Northwestern College 85

Dakota Wesleyan 102

DWU (15-13, 8-10 GPAC)

Jalen Voss 13-21 6-11 33; Luke Bamberg 3-6 4-6 11; Trae Bergh 5-9 8-8 20; Kris Menning 6-12 2-2 17; Tate MArtin 1-2 0-0 3; Cole Morgan 0-0 0-0 0; Sawyer Gibson 0-0 0-0 0; Jade Miller 2-7 3-4 9; Kellam Karst 0-0 0-0 0; Eric Warkenthien 0-1 0-2 0; Jon Vorwald 0-0 0-0 0; Stephen Lee 3-5 0-0 9; Totals 33-63 23-33 102.

NC (14-13, 7-10 GPAC)

Joey Habtemariam 8-17 0-0 18; Tyler Goldston 3-7 2-2 9; Jordan Baker 7-11 3-5 17; Levi Ettleman 3-11 0-1 6; Zack Leeper 4-13 5-6 13; Rob Gill 5-6 0-0 10; T.J. Buyert 2-5 1-2 7; Taylor Francois 0-0 0-0 0; Keegan Mulder 0-1 0-0 0; Jordan Hammoto 0-0 0-0 0; Isiah Taylor 2-4 0-0 4; Gerasim Mantalvanos 0-0 0-0 0; Justin Van Kalsbeek 0-2 0-0 0; Eli Ihnen 0-0 1-2 1; Totals 34-77 12-18 85.

Halftime: DWU 37-36. 3-point field goals: DWU 12-25 (Bergh 3, Lee 3), NC 5-20. Rebounds: DWU 47 (Voss 12, Bamberg 12), NC 36 (Ettleman 7). Assists: DWU 23 (Bamberg 5, Bergh 5), NC 10. Steals: DWU 4, NC 8. Turnovers: DWU 12 (Miller 4), NC 6. Personal fouls: DWU 18, NC 25. Technical fouls: none. Fouled out: NC Ettleman.