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Defensive DWU downs No. 10 Morningside

Moments after the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team defeated Morningside College on Wednesday, the Tiger locker room was rocking. Yes, the No. 20 Tigers were celebrating an 85-75 win over the No. 10 Mustangs. But they were also pra...

Dakota Wesleyan's Tyson Smiley (11) drives to the basket as Morningside's Matthew Hahn (24) defends during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Wednesday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Tyson Smiley (11) drives to the basket as Morningside's Matthew Hahn (24) defends during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Wednesday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Moments after the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team defeated Morningside College on Wednesday, the Tiger locker room was rocking.

Yes, the No. 20 Tigers were celebrating an 85-75 win over the No. 10 Mustangs. But they were also praising reserve forward Kellen Barden and his defensive effort.

“They were celebrating Kellen Barden,” DWU coach Matt Wilber said about the louder-than-usual postgame party. “We had a chance to talk about him a little bit and how he stays with it and how he goes about his business. That’s what you have to love about a basketball team is that they will celebrate a guy like that.”

Barden didn’t log major minutes, but Wilber singled him out for the effort he did against Morningside College’s post player Tyler Borchers when given the chance.

“I thought we played great defensively,” Wilber said. “You hold a basketball team like that to 75 (points). … I just thought we did a great job. I thought Kellen Barden was really good defensively in the minutes he had against their big guy.”

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Barden’s defensive effort epitomized the night for the Tigers (14-5, 5-3 GPAC), who held the Mustangs to 75 points after they erupted for a season-high 102 points in their last outing.

“That’s huge and that’s a focus for us,” Barden said. “We are sick and tired of playing games in the 90s. We want to play games in the 70s and pull it out like we did today.”

For Barden, it was a moment he missed out on last year after missing most of the season with a foot injury.

“Coming back after being hurt and having a moment like that -- contributing to the game, contributing to all the games I’ve played in -- it’s a big thing,” said Barden, who scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in nine minutes.

The Tiger offense complemented the defense. DWU drilled 12 3-pointers, including 8-for-10 in the second half when it pulled away from a 33-30 halftime deficit.

“We go 8-of-10 and we can go inside and outside,” Wilber said. “We played a great offensive game in the second half.”

Leading 54-47, the Tigers went on a 12-2 surge to go ahead 66-49 with nine minutes left. DWU stretched its advantage to 75-55 with 5:37 left. The Mustangs (12-4, 4-2 GPAC) chopped the DWU lead to 77-69 with two minutes left, but couldn’t get any closer.

“We were doing great on defense,” said DWU senior Trae Vandeberg, who finished with 22 points and six 3-pointers. “We just had to get the offense going and some plays on defense really boosted our offense going into the second half.”

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Ty Hoglund added 19 points, Nygel Drury scored 15 points and Jason Spicer chipped in with 11 points.

Spicer’s counterpart, Borchers, finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Backup big Trey Brown scored three points in 15 minutes.

“That’s a big thing when we can come out and guard two bigs like that,” Barden said.

The Tigers play at Northwestern College on Jan. 10 in Orange City, Iowa.

 

Dakota Wesleyan 85, Morningside College 75Morningside College (12-4, 4-2): Pierce Almond 4-9 0-0 11, Brody Egger 7-12 0-0 16, Zach Imig 6-14 2-4 16, Alex Borchers 5-8 1-1 11, Tyler Borchers 8-13 0-0 16, Ben Hoskins 0-1 0-0 0, Trystan Cummins 0-2 0-0 0, Matthew Hahn 1-3 0-0 2, Trey Brown 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 32-63 4-7 75.Dakota Wesleyan (15-5, 5-3): Trae Vandeberg 6-9 4-4 22, Nygel Drury 5-9 3-5 15, Collin Kramer 3-6 0-0 8, Ty Hoglund 7-18 3-4 19, Jason Spicer 5-10 1-2 11, Tyson Smiley 2-3 2-2 6, Samuel McCloud 0-2 0-0 0, Kellen Barden 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 30-60 13-17 85.Halftime: Morningside 33-30. 3-point field goals: MC 7-19 (Almond 3-8, Egger 2-5, Imig 2-4, Cummins 0-1, Hahn 0-1); DWU 12-27 (Vandeberg 6-8, Drury 2-5, Kramer 2-5, Hoglund 2-7, McCloud 0-2). Rebounds: MC 29 (Egger 6, Imig 6, Borchers 6); DWU 30 (Drury 6, Hoglund 6). Steals: MC 3 (A. Borchers 3); DWU 5 (Drury 2, Hoglund 2). Assists: MC 20 (Imig 4); DWU 21 (Spicer 6). Blocked shots: MC 1 (T. Borchers 1); DWU 2 (Spicer 1, McCloud 1). Turnovers: MC 8; DWU 6. Total fouls: MC 14; DWU 14. A: 2,891.

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