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DWU men to play SDSU in early season exhibition

The Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team has scheduled an exhibition game with South Dakota State University for the 2014-15 season, according to Tiger coach Matt Wilber.

The Tigers, who played the Jackrabbits to open the 2013-14 season, will travel to Frost Arena in Brookings at 7 p.m. Nov. 4.

"It's a great experience for our guys to be able to play in a place like Frost Arena and against an opponent like South Dakota State," Wilber said. "Even though it's an exhibition, it will be a good experience for our guys to go against that caliber of play."

The game will be the third on the season schedule for DWU after it opens on the road against rival Dakota State University on Nov. 1 and plays its first home game against Oglala Lakota College on Nov. 2.

In the exhibition against NCAA Division I member SDSU last season, DWU fell 96-73. The lasting impact of the game was felt well into the season, as junior forward Kris Menning suffered a fractured bone in his hand, costing him the first month of 2013-14. Junior forward Jalen Voss also came out of the matchup with the Jackrabbits less than 100 percent, suffering a back injury.

Wilber said those injuries were a fluke and he had no second thoughts about scheduling the Jackrabbits again.

After a strong close to the 2013-14 season that saw the Tigers finish one win away from a berth in the NAIA national tournament, Wilber, going into his second season, sees a lot for his players to gain from going up against SDSU.

"Outside of the experience of playing in an environment like that, the fact that we will go up against a physical and talented team will benefit us," Wilber said.

The Tigers finished 18-14 in 2013-14 and will play five games in eight days to start the 2014-15 season, which tips off on Nov. 1.