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No. 14 Tigers fade late against No. 4 Briar Cliff 87-75

Cold shooting down the stretch doomed the No. 14 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team on Wednesday. After shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the first half against No. 4 Briar Cliff, the Tigers only shot 26.7 percent from long ...

Dakota Wesleyan's Trae Vandeberg (13) celebrates a 3-point basket as the Corn Crib Crazies cheer from the bleachers during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Trae Vandeberg (13) celebrates a 3-point basket as the Corn Crib Crazies cheer from the bleachers during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Cold shooting down the stretch doomed the No. 14 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team on Wednesday.

After shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the first half against No. 4 Briar Cliff, the Tigers only shot 26.7 percent from long range in the second half.

As a result, Briar Cliff continued to add to its lead in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings, besting DWU 87-75 at the Corn Palace in front of a crowd of 2,075.

"We just couldn't get a couple of shots to go when we wanted to," DWU head coach Matt Wilber said. "We were behind the eight ball a lot. We got it back close eventually, but they just made plays down the stretch."

The Chargers (20-2, 11-1 GPAC) benefited from Clay Harreld and Bryan Forbes sinking DWU with clutch free throws and 3-point shots, while the Tigers had no answer on the other end.

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Forbes was 11-of-11 from the free throw line and grabbed 17 rebounds, as he finished with 21 points. Harreld also scored 21 points, and was 6-of-11 from the floor. Austin Homan chipped in 17 points in the win.

"Our guys have been good down the stretch all season long," Briar Cliff head coach Nic Nelson said. "Bryan Forbes carried us for the most part in the second half. This is a huge win for our program."

In the last meeting between the two schools, DWU (15-7, 7-5 GPAC) put up 101 points in a 101-95 win on Nov. 18 in Sioux City. Since that night, Briar Cliff hasn't lost a game - a streak of 16 straight wins.

Holding the Tigers - who average 88.9 points per game - to 75 points Wednesday made Nelson pleased.

"Playing defense is really what turned our season around," Nelson said. "Our loss to Dakota Wesleyan was a key juncture in our season, because at that point we were 4-2 and did not play defense the first six games. After that point, our guys have made a lot of strides defensively. We're much better on that side of the ball now."

Trae Bergh, Tate Miller and Trae Vandeberg each had 19 points for DWU. Vandeberg was 7-of-10 from the floor including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, while Martin had five assists.

The Tigers were outrebounded by Briar Cliff 37-29, while each team committed eight turnovers. Briar Cliff was 26-of-29 from the free throw line, while DWU was 9-of-13.

DWU hopes to rebound at 4 p.m. on Sunday against Midland University (Neb.).

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"We lost a game tonight where I didn't think we were as tough as the other team throughout it," Wilber said. "I told our team just to not let that happen again. We still have a ways to go here, and we have a big game coming up. We'll see how we bounce back."

Briar Cliff 87 (20-2, 11-1 GPAC)

Shane Graves 4-6 0-0 8 Clay Harreld 6-11 6-7 21 Austin Lefler 2-8 3-3 8 Austin Homan 6-10 5-6 17 Bryan Forbes 4-10 11-11 21 Austin Pohlen 1-1 0-0 2 Jay Wolfe 1-2 1-2 3 Jared Betz 0-0 0-0 0 Erich Erdman 2-9 0-0 7 Ricky Williams 0-2 0-0 0 TOTALS 27-59 26-29 87

Dakota Wesleyan 75 (15-7, 7-5)

Trae Bergh 7-21 4-4 19 Terrell Newton 3-9 0-0 7 Tate Martin 7-15 2-5 19 Jade Miller 3-6 3-4 9 Trae Vandeberg 7-10 0-0 19 Brady Wohler 0-0 0-0 0 Kellen Barden 1-3 0-2 2 TOTALS 28-64 9-13 75

Halftime score: Briar Cliff 39-38; 3-point goals: BCU 7-21 (Harreld 3, Lefler 1, Forbes 2, Erdman 1), DWU 10-27 (Bergh 1, Newton 1, Martin 3, Vandeberg 5); Rebounds: BCU 37 (Forbes 17), DWU 29 (Miller 8); Assists: BCU 8 (Graves 4), DWU 13 (Martin 5); Total fouls: BCU 17, DWU 19; Turnovers: BCU 8, DWU 8; A - 2,075.

Dakota Wesleyan's Tate Martin (11) is fouled by Briar Cliff's Shane Graves (2) as Briar Cliff's Austin Homan (33) defends going to the basket during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Tate Martin (11) is fouled by Briar Cliff's Shane Graves (2) as Briar Cliff's Austin Homan (33) defends going to the basket during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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