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Tigers hope to keep Concordia from getting hot today

The Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team is the top seed remaining in the Great Plains Athletic Conference postseason tournament after a quarterfinal round filled with upsets Thursday, and the Tigers are hoping to use that to their ad...

The Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team is the top seed remaining in the Great Plains Athletic Conference postseason tournament after a quarterfinal round filled with upsets Thursday, and the Tigers are hoping to use that to their advantage.

Tonight, DWU (24-7) hosts Concordia University at approximately 8 p.m. in a GPAC semifinal game. The Bulldogs scored four points in the final 10 seconds of regulation in their quarterfinal game at Briar Cliff Thursday, then scored the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime in their 101-97 upset of the Chargers.

To say Concordia was hot in its upset Thursday might be an understatement. The Bulldogs were 19-for-25 from beyond the arc, including a 6-for-6 performance from 3-point range by freshman Tyler Byrd.

"They have guys just like everyone else that are capable of making shots," DWU coach John Hemenway said. "They have proved that throughout the year. They really got hot against Briar Cliff."

Defending the perimeter will be one aspect of Concordia's game the Tigers will be zeroing in on tonight, but that can't be the only thing they watch, Hemenway said.

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"(Three-point shooting) is a factor; we need to be aware of their shooters and where they are," he said. "They have a good lineup. You combine their inside guys with their perimeter shooters, and they can be tough to guard."

This will be the second meeting in 10 days between the two teams. Concordia was up 68-67 with three minutes left to play Feb. 18, but the Tigers went on an 8-0 run for a 75-68 victory. Dusan Veselinovic scored 21 points and Sam Huebner had 18 points and 16 rebounds in the game 10 days ago.

"They both really hurt us; they both had very good games against us," Hemenway said. "We need to locate Dusan in transition. Huebner did a tremendous job of scoring and rebounding, so those two are our main concern. Hopefully we can limit those guys a little bit compared to last time."

Veselinovic averages 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs, and Tyler Bredehoft leads the team averaging 13.6 points. Dustin Weber, Ryan Shrum and Huebner all average just under 10 points per game.

Dakota Wesleyan can match that, however. All five Tiger starters average double figures. Brady Wiebe leads the Tigers with 17.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, Bain averages 12.2 points and Chase Walder, Scott Nelson and Ike Muoneke all average between 10.2 and 10.4 points per game.

Since the two teams just played, they will be fairly familiar with one another, which Hemenway said isn't a bad thing.

"If we were playing someone like Doane, who we played in December, we wouldn't be as familiar with them as we are with Concordia, who we just played," he said. "I think it helps a little bit, just to have some familiarity with each other. They probably feel the same way."

The Tigers, who are the top seed left in the tournament, are glad they get to stay in Mitchell for tonight's game. DWU is 13-1 at home this season and, over the past three seasons, it has racked up a 40-6 mark at the Corn Palace. The Tigers have also won 18 consecutive home games against GPAC opponents.

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"Anytime we're at home, that's always better than being on the road," Hemenway said. "I think 100 percent of college basketball coaches would rather play in their home facility than on the road. Obviously, we've played very well at home over the last three years, and we hope to continue that."

The DWU game is the last on a full schedule today at the Corn Palace, which, starting at 2 p.m., will host four area district boys' basketball games. The cost for the full day is $5 for adults, including college students, and $3 for students kindergarten through 12th grade.

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