No. 15 Tigers topple No. 2 Midland

On paper the No. 15 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team 90-74 win over Great Plains Athletic Conference foe and No. 2 Midland was considered an upset.

Dakota Wesleyan University's Jalen Voss looks to score as Midland's Alex Starkel tries to stop him during a Great Plains Athletic Conference basketball game on Saturday in Mitchell. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

On paper the No. 15 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team 90-74 win over Great Plains Athletic Conference foe and No. 2 Midland was considered an upset.

But for anyone watching the Tigers play at the Corn Palace on Saturday, DWU's performance against the nation's No. 2 team was dominant.

The Tigers never trailled and didn't allow the Warriors to even come close to tying the game in a statement win by undefeated Dakota Wesleyan (11-0).

"I don't think we can play a better game offensively," DWU head coach Matt Wilber said. "That team is very good defensively and I thought our guys did a really good job of getting good shots against a tough defensive team."

Jumping out to a 10-0 start that featured two Kris Menning three-pointers was exactly what the Tigers wanted to do and it gave the loud Corn Palace crowd plenty to cheer for the rest of the game.


"They were very good. We knew they would be very good and they proved that they were very good," Midland head coach Todd Eisner said after the game. "It's probably the best offensive team that I have played against since I've been in the GPAC."

DWU shot 63.5 percent from field going 33-for-52 on field goals and made 16-of-27 shots from behind the arc.

"We executed really well offensively and we made shots," Wilber said. "Our guys buy into each other and make the extra pass. They trust each other."

The Tigers recorded 25 assists compared to Midland's 10 and junior guard Trae Bergh dominated the Warriors scoring 32 points, sinking six three pointers.

Bergh also added seven assists, two steals and four rebounds, while Menning added 20 points, shooting 6-for-7 from deep.

"We were ready to play. We came out and made some shots and got some stops," Bergh said after the game. "The crowd was great and our bench gave us a lift. There was a lot of energy in the building."

Senior forward Jalen Voss scored 18 points and had two blocks, while senior guard Joey Mitchell added 11 points and three assists.

"Unselfish basketball, that's coach Wilber's offense," Bergh said. "The ball just has to go in the hoop. It doesn't matter who scores it."


The Tigers only committed 11 turnovers and led 48-37 at halftime.

"We couldn't guard them," Eisner said. "We didn't have any answers for their perimeter players and it was very deflating for our guys."

After taking down the No. 2 ranked team in the country, the Tiger's were already looking forward to taking on Dordt College on Wednesday rather than celebrate the big victory.
"I'm not going to down play that it wasn't a really big win for our basketball program, but I think we have a mature group that has things in mind," Wilber said. "It's a step in the right direction and our team wants to continue to make steps in the right direction."

DWU improved to 4-0 in the GPAC and the team is riding an 11-game winning streak.

"It was never really a game. Give them the credit, the were the dominate team from the very first possession," Eisner said. "They have more experience and you can tell each of the players has worked on his game."

After jumping out to the 10-0 start, DWU didn't let up taking a 20-6 lead before Midland called its second time out of the game.

The starters left the game just above the one minute mark and received a standing applause from the Corn Palace crowd.

"I'm not worried about our group feeling overly good about ourselves after this win," Wilber said. "In basketball you have to prove yourself every day. We have good practices and nobody can see that. We have a bunch of guys that have bought into our team."


The Tigers will take their unbeaten record on the road against Dordt College at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa.

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