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The Quick Hitter: DWU hosts Mount Marty College men in pivotal GPAC game

On Dec. 6, the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team dominated rival Mount Marty College (72-41) in Yankton. A lot has changed since that meeting. First, from the Lancers side of things. Mount Marty snapped a 72-game Great Plains Athle...

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On Dec. 6, the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team dominated rival Mount Marty College (72-41) in Yankton.

A lot has changed since that meeting.

First, from the Lancers side of things. Mount Marty snapped a 72-game Great Plains Athletic Conference losing streak with a 65-63 win over Concordia University on Jan. 13. MMC has since won another GPAC game on Jan. 27 against Doane University, 75-65.

Mount Marty, which is led by first-year coach Cody Schilling, has also been close to adding more wins. The Lancers narrowly lost to Dordt College (77-73) and fell to No. 9 Morningside College (98-87).

The upset-minded Lancers will play four more teams either ranked or receiving votes in their final six games.

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That brings us to Dakota Wesleyan, which is No. 18 in the nation and needs every win it can get to pad its NAIA national tournament résumé.

Since their first win against Mount Marty, the Tigers won five of their next six games to close out December. But the Tigers have gone 3-3 so far in January and have not won back-to-back games since winning five straight from Dec. 19 to Jan. 3.

Now, the Tigers desperately need to stack wins together late in the season.

"We are playing for our life here as we get going," DWU coach Matt Wilber said after Saturday's 71-69 defeat against Hastings College. "So we will see what we are made of."

But it won't be easy.

The Tigers will now close out the season with a tough stretch of games. In addition to Mount Marty College, DWU also plays at No. 4 Briar Cliff, at No. 9 Morningside, home vs. No. 11 Northwestern College and at Concordia University.

"We've probably got the toughest schedule in the GPAC, I would guess with where we've got to go on the road and what we've got coming into our place," Wilber said. "We've got a chance to prove ourselves and we have got a make-or-break situation."

The gauntlet of GPAC games continues tonight when Mount Marty comes to the Corn Palace at 8 p.m.

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"Huge game for us," Wilber added. "We will see what we are ready to do against them coming into our place."

"The Quick Hitter is a feature and published only at mitchellrepublic.com regarding the local sports news of the day."

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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