DWU rallies from 18-point deficit to rout Dordt

If someone would have told John Hemenway that his Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team would beat Dordt College by 27 points, he would have had good reason to not believe them.

Matt Bunke/Republic Dakota Wesleyan's Scott Nelson tries to get a shot up in the lane over the outstretched arms of Dordt's Brett Heidema during the first half of Wednesday's game at the Corn Palace.

If someone would have told John Hemenway that his Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team would beat Dordt College by 27 points, he would have had good reason to not believe them.

If, midway through the first half, someone would have told Hemenway his team would go on to beat Dordt by 27 points, he would have even more reason not to believe them.

But the Tigers, who were down by 18 points at one point in the first half, outscored the Defenders 53-19 in the second half and went on to win 86-59 Wednesday night in a crucial Great Plains Athletic Conference game at the Corn Palace.

"We knew it would be a hard-fought game," DWU sophomore guard Brady Wiebe said. "But (to win by) 27 points against a good team? I would have said no way."

Dakota Wesleyan is now 6-2 in the GPAC and still in a three-way tie for third with Morningside and Northwestern. The Red Raiders, however, did the Tigers a huge favor by knocking off No. 11 Briar Cliff (7-2), putting the Tigers just one game behind Concordia (7-1) and a half game behind Briar Cliff.


The Tigers got behind early against the Defenders. Dordt jumped out to a 10-0 lead and held DWU scoreless until Chase Walder converted a three-point play with 15:30 left in the half. After that, the Defenders went on a 16-8 run that included four three-point shots to grab their biggest lead of the game, 29-11, with 9:35 left to play.

That's when the Tigers took charge. Dakota Wesleyan went on a 14-2 run to get within 31-25 with just under six minutes left in the half, then finished the half on an 8-4 run to close the gap to seven, 40-33 at intermission.

"I was thinking if we could just get (the deficit) back to single digits ... down to 10, 11, 12 before the half (we could win)," Hemenway said. "We got it down to seven, then I told the kids at half if in the first five minutes we could get it close, I felt we had a good chance to win. Our defense came out in the second half just phenomenal. That's the best we've played on the defensive end in one half since I've been here."

Dordt scored the first layup of the second half, but then Dakota Wesleyan went on a 22-5 run highlighted by four consecutive threes from Mitch Bain, Colby Fitzgerald and two from Walder. Bain hit the first three at 16:05 to tie the game at 44, and the Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game less than two minutes later when Walder hit the first of his two threes and DWU would never trail again.

The Tigers went on a 33-12 run in the final 12:13 of the game to seal the win. Seven of those 12 points came in the final four minutes of the game for the Defenders.

"Dordt started hot right away, and we knew they weren't going to make those shots all day," said Wiebe, who returned for the Tigers after missing Sunday's game and not having practiced all week. "We just kind of picked up our defensive intensity and that created more offense for us."

Fitzgerald led the offensive charge with 18 points for DWU. Walder added 17 points, Wiebe had 16 and Ike Muoneke chipped in with 11. Bain just missed a triple-double with 12 assists, seven points and nine rebounds. Wiebe added nine rebounds and four steals to his stat line.

"I told (Wiebe) 'Brady for 20 minutes or 15 minutes is better than no Brady,' " Hemenway said. "So for him to come in and get 16 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes is great."


Micahel Eekhoff was one of only two players in double digits for the Defenders (11-6, 5-3) with 15 points. Brandon Oldenkamp added 14 points.

The Tigers play the second game of their four-game home stand Wednesday when they host Nebraska Wesleyan (8-6, 4-3) at 8 p.m.

"Every win in the GPAC is hard," Hemenway said. "I feel like we need to play well in this four-game stretch at home. It's very important to defend your home court because it's very difficult to win on the road as we found out Sunday. I want to make sure we play well these three games at home."



Dordt (11-6, 5-3)

Logan Kingma 2-8 0-0 5; Chris Van Roekel 2-4 0-0 4; Brett Heidema 2-4 1-2 5; Justin Van Kooten 0-3 0-0 0; Michael Eekhoff 7-14 0-0 15; Carlie Landegent 0-0 0-0 0; Ben Van Wyk 0-1 0-0 0; Eric Miedema 0-0 0-0 0; Mark Taatjes 4-4 0-0 8; Kevin Fopma 1-2 2-2 5; Dustin Katje 0-3 0-0 0; Jeremy Zeutenhorst 1-2 1-2 3; Brandon Oldenkamp 5-9 1-2 14. Totals 24-54 5-8 59.

Dakota Wesleyan (15-5, 6-2)


Ike Muoneke 5-10 0-0 11; Scott Nelson 3-6 0-0 6; Mike Long 4-7 0-0 8; Mitch Bain 3-5 0-0 7; Colby Fitzgerald 7-15 3-3 18; Rocky Nelson 1-1 0-0 3; Chase Walder 6-9 3-3 17; Brady Wiebe 7-10 2-2 16; Jordan Long 0-0 0-0 0; Jordan Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-63 8-8 86.

Halftime score: DC 40, DWU 33. Three-point goals: DC 6-19 (Oldenkamp 3-5); DWU 6-14 (Walder 2-4). Rebounds: DC 24 (Van Roekel 4), DWU 31 (Wiebe, Bain 9). Turnovers: DC 17, DWU 11. Assists: DC 14 (Eekhoff 5), DWU 26 (Bain 12). Steals: DC 9, DWU 10 (Wiebe 4). Blocks: DC 3, DWU 3.

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