Matt Wilber said Saturday’s performance epitomized Dakota Wesleyan University basketball.

The Tigers placed four players in double figures, held Jamestown University to 13 points below its season average and picked up a 77-70 win at the Corn Palace.

“That was the best version of ourselves right there, especially on the defensive end,” Wilber said. “We really competed. We got back to guarding and playing the way that we can guard. It was very meat and potatoes with our game plan and our guys really played hard throughout it.”

With the win, the Tigers (18-7, 14-6 GPAC) clinched the No. 4 seed and first-round home game in the GPAC tournament. They will host Concordia on Wednesday in the GPAC tournament opener.

On Saturday, Dakota Wesleyan’s defense helped it clinch the No. 4 seed. The Jimmies, who average 83 points per game, needed a late run to crack 70 points. Jamestown shot 23 of 63 from the field and 9 of 31 from the 3-point line.

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“That was definitely one of the better defensive games we’ve played in a while, and to have that, and to have a together group, it gives you confidence on the offensive end, too,” said DWU junior forward Mason Larson, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in his first game since Jan. 30.

“He gives us so much energy defensively,” said DWU forward Koln Oppold, who added 19 points and 11 rebounds. “He’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever played with. He’s just everywhere. He’s crazy, but he gets the job done."

Larson keyed a defensive effort against the bigger Jimmies, who started 6-foot-9 Mason Walters, 6-foot-6 Brady Birch and brought 6-foot-8 Brock Schrom off the bench.

Walters, who is averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds, finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Schrom added 10 points and nine rebounds.

“Brock Schrom is a load and he got some plays,” Wilber said. “But Mason Walters, I would say is probably going to be the player of the year and we held him way under his average.”

Offensively, the Tigers were just as sharp. Point guard Nick Harden paced the Tigers with 22 points, while Teegan Evers added 10 points and five boards off the bench.

The Tigers finished 29 of 62 from the field and eight of 19 from the 3-point line. They recorded 12 assists, with Harden handing out six of them.

“We looked like us,” Wilber said. “We had movement. We got shots we wanted. We got some easy ones in there, but we were running our offense the way that it was intended to be run and our guys did a great job with that.”

Harden poured in 16 of his 22 points in the first half, while Larson had 11 points (three 3-pointers) to spark a 41-29 halftime lead.

Oppold drilled three 3-pointers early in the second half to help keep DWU’s lead at double digits. Oppold finished 4 of 7 from the 3-point line.

“I think I missed my last 80,” Oppold said. “So it felt good to see a couple go in and hopefully that can carry over into the next game.”

DWU sophomore guard Sawyer Schultz didn’t play due to a coaches decision for a team suspension. Wilber said Schultz’s status for Wednesday’s game against Concordia is to be determined.



Dakota Wesleyan 77, Jamestown University 70

Jamestown University (18-7, 14-6): Marc Kjos 3-7 4-4 13, Allante Pickens 2-6 3-4 8, Jack Talley 4-11 0-0 11, Mason Walters 7-15 0-2 14, Brady Birch 1-2 1-2 3, Will Cordes 2-6 0-0 5, Cole Woodford 1-7 3-3 6, Devan Praska 0-1 0-0 0, Brock Schrom 3-8 4-6 10. Totals 23-63 15-21 70.

Dakota Wesleyan (18-7, 14-6): Koln Oppold 7-15 1-4 19, Nick Harden 8-21 6-7 22, Jeffrey Schuch 3-4 0-1 6, Mason Larson 6-11 0-0 15, Drew Cole 0-2 0-0 0, Teegan Evers 4-5 1-2 10, Bradley Dean 0-0 2-2 2, Ace Zorr 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 29-62 11-18 77.

Halftime: DWU 41-29. 3-point field goals: JU 9-31 (Kjos 3-7, Pickens 1-4, Talley 3-7, Walters 0-2, Cordes 1-5, Woodford 1-5, Praska 0-1); DWU 8-19 (Oppold 4-7, Schuch 0-1, Larson 3-5, Cole 0-2, Evers 1-2, Zorr 0-2). Rebounds: JU 37 (Kjos 9, Schrom 9); DWU 38 (Oppold 11). Assists: JU 6; DWU 12 (Harden 6). Steals: JU 5 (Kjos 3); DWU 6 (Larson 3). Blocked shots: JU 4 (Schrom 3) ; DWU 3 (Larson 1, Evers 1, Zorr 1). Turnovers: JU 10; DWU 11. Total fouls: JU 18; DWU 18. Officials: Jacob Hirz, David Egge and Kirby Wells. A: 400.