Tigers host Dordt tonight

Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball coach John Hemenway said Tuesday afternoon that he treats every game as a must-win and tells his team to think the same.

DWU men, women host Dordt
Leah Rado/Republic Dakota Wesleyan's Ike Muoneke puts up a shot between two Presentation College defenders during the Tigers' last home game Dec. 18, 2008, at the Corn Palace. The DWU women and men host Dordt College tonight at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively.

Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball coach John Hemenway said Tuesday afternoon that he treats every game as a must-win and tells his team to think the same.

But there might be a little more emphasis on tonight's game than any other regular-season game for the Tigers.

Dakota Wesleyan returns home after a five-game road trip to host Great Plains Athletic Conference rival Dordt College tonight at 8 at the Corn Palace.

Both teams enter tonight's game looking to gain some footing in the GPAC after disappointing losses and drops in the poll this past weekend. Dakota Wesleyan fell from No. 23 to the others receiving votes category after a 93-83 loss at Hastings College Sunday.

"I don't know if there's a game that's a must-win," Hemenway said. "We're trying to win every game the same -- home or away. But in terms of where it sits in our schedule and coming off of the way we played Sunday, which was not very good, yeah this is a big game for us."


The Chargers dropped all the way from No. 14 to the others receiving votes category after losing 68-61 to Nebraska Wesleyan, which, until Saturday, was only 3-3 in the conference.

Their respective losses put the Tigers and Dordt in a four-way log jam for third in the GPAC with Morningside and Northwestern, all with identical 5-2 records, making tonight's game even more important for the Tigers.

"(The loss) was very disappointing," DWU guard Mitch Bain said Tuesday. "We need to play better defense and play more as a team."

To add to the festivities, the DWU athletic department is calling for a "White Out" at today's game. All DWU students, alumni, fans and parents are encouraged to wear all white to support the Tigers during this big game.

During last year's "White Out" game, the Tigers, ranked No. 8 at the time, knocked off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Morningside College, 91-79.

Dakota Wesleyan and Dordt have already met once this season when the Tigers headed down to Sioux Center, Iowa. The Chargers handed DWU its third loss of the season, 82-73. Dordt used six second-half 3-pointers to pull away from the Tigers in their first meet. The Chargers shot 38 percent from beyond the arc in that game while DWU made just two 3-pointers and shot 12 percent from beyond the arc.

"We're very familiar with what Dordt brings to the table," Hemenway said. "They have a very athletic point guard who can get to the rim and one of the best wing players in the league. They're really good physically, they play good defense, their traditionally very good and we're know there's a very good team coming here that we're going to have to play well to have a chance to win against."

Other than 3-point shooting, the Tigers and Dordt were evenly matched shooting-wise in the first game. DWU finished the night shooting 49 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line while Dordt shot 46 percent from the field and 70 percent from the line. One stat that Dakota Wesleyan is looking to improve on from the first meeting is turnovers. The Tigers had 19 to the Chargers' 10.


The Tigers were without starter Brady Wiebe in their loss Sunday, and as of Tuesday afternoon Hemenway said his status was questionable, but his status for tonight's game would be a game-time decision.

The Tiger women are also looking to gain some ground in GPAC play tonight. They play the first game of the doubleheader at 6 p.m. at the Corn Palace.

Dakota Wesleyan is alone in seventh place with a 2-5 record after a 67-49 loss to Hastings Sunday. Dakota Wesleyan stayed with the No. 9 Broncos until the final nine minutes of play when it got outscored 23-7.

The Dordt women enter tonight also looking to move up in the GPAC. The Chargers are 3-4 in the conference and enter the game on a two-game winning streak. They beat Nebraska Wesleyan 57-44 Saturday. Both teams are also fighting to reach .500 in their overall standings. DWU is 9-10 overall and the Chargers are 8-9.

Dakota Wesleyan came away with a 75-59 win when the two teams first met Dec. 3, but Dordt was without several players from its women's soccer team, which made it to the NAIA national tournament this fall.

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