Jamestown eliminates Dakota Wesleyan men from GPAC tournament in semifinals

After hot-shooting upset of Briar Cliff, Tigers go cold in North Dakota

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(Republic file photo)

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team was blitzed from the opening tip Saturday.

Playing at fifth-seeded Jamestown, the No. 8-seeded Tigers fell behind 26-5 in the first half and was never able to fully recover, dropping an 81-56 decision to the Jimmies in the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. The loss ends DWU’s season at 13-16.

The first half told much of the story, with Jamestown outscoring DWU 42-19 on the strength of shooting nearly 60% over the first 20 minutes.

The Jimmies (24-8) made its first four shots of the game, while the Tigers started shooting 1-for-15 from the field and went nearly 9 minutes between made field goals. By the time Nick Wittler broke the drought with a 3-pointer, DWU trailed 26-7, and the Tigers would only get as close as 17 in the rest of the first half and were kept to 19% shooting in the first half.

The second half resembled the first, and DWU only got as close as a 15-point margin with less than 12 minutes to go but the Jimmies kept DWU at bay for the remainder of the game. The Tigers finished 10-for-31 on 3-pointers but made only 18 field goals in the game. The shooting performance was in stark contrast to four days ago, when the Tigers upset No. 1-seeded Briar Cliff in the quarterfinal round by shooting nearly 57% from the field.


Jeffrey Schuch had 14 points and five rebounds. Mason Larson had 13 points and six rebounds, while Nick Wittler had 13 points. DWU’s leading scorer at 14 points per game, Koln Oppold, was held scoreless on an 0-for-7 shooting day. It was the ninth time for the season that DWU scored fewer than 60 points and the Tigers dropping to 1-8 in those games.

Jamestown dominated in the paint against the Tigers, scoring 44 of its 81 points in the lane and easily eclipsing DWU’s 12 points in the category. The Jimmies start 6-foot-8 John Argue and 6-foot-9 Mason Walters as forwards and bring in 6-foot-11 Devon Schultz from off the bench, a trio of size that gave the Tigers plenty of trouble.

Walters finished with a game-high 25 points and 16 rebounds, including an 11-for-11 free-throw shooting day. Guards Cole Woodford and Will Cordes each had 15 points, as Jamestown shot 53.6% from the field in the game.

Unfortunately for DWU, the margin of the loss exceeded the two prior meetings in the season, with Jamestown winning by 10 points at home in November and by 17 points at the Corn Palace on Feb. 2. The Jimmies had won by 24 points in the GPAC quarterfinals over Dordt on Feb. 23.

Jamestown will now travel to No. 2 seeded Concordia (24-6) for the GPAC championship on Tuesday night in Seward, Nebraska. Concordia defeated rival Doane, 68-66, in the other semifinal on Saturday.

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