Dakota Wesleyan University got back to displaying its defensive identity on Sunday.

The No. 11 Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 69-58 win over Mount Marty University at the Corn Palace. The win came after DWU allowed 84 and 86 points in the two straight losses.

“We are a better team when we are defensive minded,” DWU coach Matt Wilber said. “... I thought we flew around today pretty well and obviously the score reflected it.”

The defensive-minded Tigers (14-3, 10-2 GPAC) also handed the Lancers (7-12, 4-10 GPAC) their sixth-straight loss. Nick Harden paced the Tigers with 20 points, including 18 in the first half. Mason Larson finished with 15 points, while Koln Oppold again stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Harden spurred a 39-25 first-half lead for the Tigers, who used a 15-0 run to pull away.

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“We went on a run because of our defense,” Harden said. “We take pride in our defense before anything.”

The Tigers continued to pile on the points in the second half and built a 21-point lead with under seven minutes left. Oppold and Larson took on offensive responsibilities in the second half. In the second half, Larson scored 12 points and Oppold scored eight points.

“I believe in my team,” Harden said. “I don’t need to score all the time and everybody is involved. It’s 5-on-5 and it’s all team ball.”

DWU contained Mount Marty’s Jailen Billings (15 points) and Elijah Pappas (10 points) on the night. The two guards combined to make just seven field goals.

“Nick and Mason did a really good job on them,” Wilber said. “They missed a few, but I thought we really guarded them and made it hard on them. It was a really good day on the defensive side of it.”

The Tigers also had to gameplan for transfer Tyrell Harper, who was playing his second game with the Lancers. The 6-foot-6 athletic and springy Harper finished with 13 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

“He had a big first game,” said Larson about Harper, who had 17 points in his first Lancer contest. “It’s always fun playing against good dudes. Mount Marty is a good team and it’s fun to play against guys that can give you competition.”

The Tigers will play at Jamestown University on Wednesday to start a three-game road swing.



Dakota Wesleyan University 69, Mount Marty 58

Mount Marty (7-12, 4-10): Jailen Billings 3-13 8-9 15, Elijah Pappas 4-11 1-2 10, Kade Stearns 0-1 0-0 0, Jonah Larson 0-1 0-0 0, Keegan Savary 1-1 0-0 3, Will Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Marcus Edwards 2-3 0-0 5, Allen Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper Cornemann 2-4 3-4 8, Gio Diaz 0-0 0-0 0, Saba Gvedashvili 0-2 0-0 0, Luke Ronsiek 1-3 0-0 2, Tyrell Harper 6-11 0-2 13, Lincoln Jordre 0-0 2-4 2, Chase Altenburg 0-0 0-0 0, Mitchell Lonnemann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 14-21 58.

Dakota Wesleyan (14-3, 10-2): Koln Oppold 5-11 4-4 14, Nick Harden 9-15 2-3 20, Jeffrey Schuch 2-3 0-0 4, Mason Larson 6-9 0-0 15, Sawyer Schultz 3-8 0-0 8, Teegan Evers 0-1 1-2 1, Bradley Dean 0-1 0-0 0, Kellen Erpenbach 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Jaros 0-0 0-0 0, Ace Zorr 3-8 1-6 7, Drew Cole 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-57 8-16 69.

Halftime: DWU 39-25. 3-point field goals: MMU 6-21 (Billings 1-5, Pappas 1-2, Stearns 0-1, Larson 0-1, Savary 1-1, Edwards 1-2, Wilson 0-1, Cornemann 1-2, Ronsiek 0-2, Harper 1-2; DWU 5-18 (Oppold 0-2, Harden 0-2, Schuch 0-1, Larson 3-6, Schultz 2-6, Dean 0-1). Rebounds: MMU 27 (Harper 9); DWU 31 (Oppold 10). Steals: MMU 6 (Cornemann 3); DWU 7 (Harden 4). Assists: MMU 7 (Billings 2, Pappas 2, Harper 2); DWU 12 (Oppold 5). Turnovers: MMU 15; DWU 14. Total fouls: MMU 17; DWU 15. Officials: Joe Wells, David Egge, Kirby Wells. A: 382.