Dakota Wesleyan basketball makes key Nebraska trip this weekend
Tigers are at Hastings, Doane for Friday-Saturday games
MITCHELL — Into the second half of the Great Plains Athletic Conference schedule, the Dakota Wesleyan University basketball teams will take a critical road trip south this weekend for a pair of games.
The Tiger teams will be in Hastings on Friday night, followed by a trip to Crete on Saturday afternoon for a twinbill with Doane that begins at 2 p.m.
On the women's side of the standings, DWU enters the weekend a game-and-a-half out of second place in the GPAC behind Northwestern and will play a pair of sub-.500 teams. The Red Raiders play a key game against fourth-place Concordia in Orange City, Iowa on Saturday, and a weekend sweep for DWU and a Concordia victory would put the Tigers effectively into second place in the conference.
In men's basketball, the Tigers hold the No. 8 slot in the GPAC standings, if the season ended after Thursday's games. But DWU is tied with Doane and Dordt for the No. 6 spot and could move as high as No. 4 or No. 5 in the standings, depending on how the weekend breaks. The action starts with a visit to last-place Hastings on Friday.
Here's a rundown of the weekend's slate:
DWU women at Hastings (Dec. 3), Doane (Dec. 4)
When: 5 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday.
Records: DWU is 16-4 overall and 8-4 in the GPAC, while Hastings is 9-9 and 5-7 in the GPAC. Doane is 9-11 and 3-9 in conference games.
Last time out: Dakota Wesleyan completed a season sweep against last place Mount Marty with a 68-39 doubling up of the Lancers at the Corn Palace on Jan. 16.
Last meeting: The Tigers swept their Nebraska foes when they visited the Corn Palace in early December, topping Hastings (69-42) and Doane (78-65).
Tracking the Tigers: Wesleyan remains among the nation's best teams at protecting the ball, turning it over only 12.4 points per game, which ranks No. 11 in the NAIA. The Tigers also rank in the top-30 nationally in field goals made per game (28.4 per game, 28th), points per game allowed (57 ppg, 26th), opponents' field goal percentage (35.1%, 23rd nationally). DWU is 8-3 in road games this season.
Scouting Hastings: The Broncos average nearly 71 points per game but spread most of that production around, with only three players averaging 10 or more points, led by senior guard Taylor Beacom (11.1 ppg) and Riley Clavel (11 ppg). In the first meeting with DWU, Hastings was held to its worst shooting day of the year, firing at a clip of 25.5% from the field.
Scouting Doane: Doane has lost its last three games, including allowing 101 points each to Dordt and Morningside. The Tigers rank in the bottom-10 nationally in field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 45% per game. Doane also takes a lot of 3-pointers, more than 25 per game, to rank in the top-30 nationally.
Up next: DWU hosts Dordt at 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Corn Palace, marking a start of four of the next five games at home.
DWU men at Hastings (Dec. 3), Doane (Dec. 4)
When: 6:45 p.m. Friday; 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
Records: DWU is 8-10 overall and 5-6 in the GPAC, while Hastings is 6-14 overall and 1-9 in conference games. Doane has a mark of 12-9 and is 5-6 in GPAC contests.
Last time out: Dakota Wesleyan gutted out a low-scoring victory over Mount Marty, 53-40, on Sunday, Jan. 16 at the Corn Palace. It marked two straight wins, stopping a four-game skid before then.
Last meeting: The Tigers swept this two-game set earlier in the season at the Corn Palace, defeating Hastings on Dec. 3 (72-56) and Doane on Dec. 4 (81-56).
Tracking the Tigers: DWU gets back into action after its best defensive showing of the season, holding Mount Marty to an opponent-low of 50 points and 4-for-20 on 3-pointers. The Tigers have also limited their turnovers, with just 13 total in the last two games. They're 7-2 this season when they commit fewer than 10 turnovers. Overall, they're 18th in the country in turnovers per game at just 10.3 per contest.
Scouting Hastings: Karson Gansebom is among the players to stop in the GPAC, scoring 17.1 points per game and shooting 3-pointers at a nearly 39% rate. DWU kept him to 12 points on 15 shot attempts in December.
Scouting Doane: The Tigers rank in the top-25 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 65.6 points per game. Doane has won its last two games in nail-biting fashion, an 82-80 home win over Dordt and a 72-71 win over Morningside on Jan. 15.
Up next: DWU starts a run of four straight Wednesdays at the Corn Palace, hosting Dordt at 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 26.