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DWU rallies but can't overcome early punch from Bruins

The Dakota Wesleyan Tigers came back from a horrendous first half only to come up just short Friday, as the No. 24-ranked Bellevue University Bruins held on for an 86-81 win at the Beau Keeter Memorial Classic at the Corn Palace.

Dakota Wesleyan University's Aaron Ahmadu (21) drives to the basket during a game Friday at the Corn Palace against Bellevue University. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University's Aaron Ahmadu (21) drives to the basket during a game Friday at the Corn Palace against Bellevue University. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)

The Dakota Wesleyan Tigers came back from a horrendous first half only to come up just short Friday, as the No. 24-ranked Bellevue University Bruins held on for an 86-81 win at the Beau Keeter Memorial Classic at the Corn Palace.

The No. 25 Tigers trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half and only shot 39 percent from the floor, while the Bruins controlled the inside and shot a warm 53 percent from the field, delivering DWU its first loss of the season.

"Bellevue was really good in the first half and we couldn't guard their tribble and they were making a lot of shots," DWU coach Matt Wilber said. "They just punched us in the mouth and beat us up."

Junior forward Jason Spicer scored 17 of his game-high 29 points to keep the Tigers relatively close in the first half and he echoed what Wilber had to say about his team's start to the game.

"They came out banging shots on us and we couldn't guard them off the drive," Spicer said. "They're a good team and they came out and punched us in the mouth and we weren't ready to respond."

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DWU was trailing 70-56 with 10:51 left in the game when the Tigers went on a 10-0 run to get to within 70-66 and managed to tie the contest at 73 when Spicer nailed a 3-point shot with 5:28 left to play. From there, the Bruins outscored the Tigers 7-0 over the next three minutes and DWU couldn't recover.

Wilber was relatively satisfied with the effort from his team in the face of a big early deficit.

"That was a great showing for a young team," Wilber said of his squad's second-half comeback. "We had a lot of things not go our way, but we really competed and we got back into the game."

Spicer was followed by Trae Vandeberg and Ty Hoglund with 15 points each and Tate Martin with 12 points. Spicer also handed out five assists.

DWU (3-1) was 28-of-59 for 48 percent from the field and 20-of-28 for 71 percent from the free throw line. The Tigers had 27 rebounds and they turned the ball over eight times.

Bellevue coach Shane Paben was pleased with the road win.

"We came out and we were really aggressive," Paben said. "We pressured the ball really well and came out with an edge to it. Tonight was a big step for us because Dakota Wesleyan is an outstanding basketball team."

The Bruins (3-3) were led by BJ Shelton with 23 points, Jalen Hall with 17 points and Jerred Cook with 10 points.

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The classic continues today with Bellevue will facing Midland at 4 p.m. today, followed by DWU and Oglala Lakota College at 6 p.m.

Bellevue (3-3) 86

Mike Cardenas 0-6 2-2 2 Nick Hilton 1-7 0-0 3 B.J. Shelton 11-18 1-5 23 Jalen Hall 8-15 1-2 17 Blake Wilder 2-5 0-0 4 Austin Moore 2-4 2-3 7 Garrett Ford 2-2 0-0 5 Terrance Wienecke 2-2 0-0 5 Jerred Cook 3-5 2-2 10 Jaffery Stillman 4-4 0-0 8 Isaiah Brown 1-1 0-0 2 Tyler Morgan 0-1 0-0 0 TOTALS 36-70 8-14 86

Dakota Wesleyan (3-1) 81

Trae Vandeberg 6-13 2-2 15 Tate Martin 3-13 4-6 12 Aaron Ahmadu 0-0 6-10 6 Ty Hoglund 7-15 0-0 15 Jason Spicer 12-17 4-6 29 Nate Davis 0-0 0-0 0 Collin Kramer 0-1 4-4 4 TOTALS 28-59 20-28 81

Halftime: Bellevue 48, DWU 32. 3-point goals: BU 6-20 (Cook 2, Wienecke, Ford, Moore, Hilton), DWU 5-21 (Martin 2, Vandeberg, Hoglund, Spicer); Rebounds: BU 41 (Hall 9), DWU 27 (Spicer 7); Fouls: BU 28, DWU 17. Technical fouls: none. Assists: BU 10 (Hall 6), DWU 15 (Martin 6); Turnovers: BU 9, DWU 8. A - 200.

Related Topics: CORN PALACE
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