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Tigers take down Midland 92-85

When the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team lost to Midland University (Neb.) 80-67 on Dec. 12, DWU head coach Matt Wilber was upset with himself.

When the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team lost to Midland University (Neb.) 80-67 on Dec. 12, DWU head coach Matt Wilber was upset with himself.

He called the contest "the worst game he ever coached," adding he shouldn't have constantly doubled the Warriors' best post threat, 6-foot-7 forward Alex Starkel.

On Sunday, the Tigers mostly put a single man on Starkel, a strategy that proved effective in a 92-85 win at the Corn Palace. Starkel was 4-of-13 from the floor for 12 points on Sunday, compared to 22 he had against the Tigers on Dec. 12.

In an effort to help slow down Starkel, Wilber inserted 6-foot-8 true freshman forward Kellen Barden into the starting lineup for the first time.

"We went that way because of Starkel," Wilber said. "I didn't want to double team him and leave all the other guys open and get beat by them like we did the first time," Wilber said. "Kellen did get in foul trouble early, but he made it hard on him every time he was out there. Kellen had a great game, but to play with that kind of energy as a true freshman who had been sitting all year is incredible."

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Wilber added he was pleased with two charges Barden drew, calling them "game-winning charges." Barden played 18 minutes and scored 10 points in his first collegiate start.

"I'm honored that coach gave me a shot," Barden said. "I knew it was a matchup issue, but my teammates and coaches believed in me and it was really cool I got to do that today. It was even cooler my first start came in the Corn Palace."

When Barden wasn't on the floor tasked with guarding Starkel, forwards Terrell Newton and Jason Spicer picked up the heavy lifting.

On the offensive end for the Tigers, Jade Miller lifted DWU with 27 points, while Tate Martin chipped in 23 points and seven assists. Senior guard Trae Bergh was 4-of-9 from the floor, but made 8 of 8 free throws for a 16 point effort. Newton added 10 points and 11 rebounds to ensure every starter for the Tigers finished in double figures.

"It was pretty relieving to (score 27)," said Miller, who was 5-for-8 from 3-point range. "I've had a little bit of a tough stretch lately in the Corn Palace where my threes just seem like they aren't going in. To shoot like that today felt really good."

Jesse Jones led Midland (10-11, 7-6 GPAC) in scoring with 19 points, while Clayton Sheppard added 17.

The Tigers shot 52.5 percent from the floor compared to the Warriors' 47 percent shooting performance.

"I thought there was a lot of defensive possessions that we'd like to have back," Midland head coach Oliver Drake said. "Dakota Wesleyan is a really good offensive team. Every time you face a good offensive team like that, you have to be dialed in defensively and hold yourself accountable for assignments. I don't think we did nearly enough of a good job to compete with them tonight."

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DWU (16-7, 8-5) takes on Mount Marty College at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in Yankton.

Midland 85 (10-11, 7-6 GPAC)

Nolan Cass 3-6 0-0 9 Ky Kramer 4-9 0-0 11 Jesse Jones 7-17 3-3 19 Clayton Shepard 8-14 0-0 17 Alex Starkel 4-13 4-9 12 Tyler Ripperger 1-2 3-5 5 Trevor Bryant 5-7 2-2 12 TOTALS 32-68 12-19 85

Dakota Wesleyan 92 (16-7, 8-5)

Trae Bergh 4-9 8-8 16 Terrell Newton 3-9 4-5 10 Tate Martin 8-13 4-6 23 Jade Miller 9-15 4-4 27 Kellen Barden 5-7 0-0 10 Trae Vandeberg 2-4 0-0 6 Brady Wohler 0-1 0-0 0 Jon Harmening 0-0 0-0 0 Jason Spicer 0-1 0-0 0 TOTALS 31-59 20-23 92

Halftime score: DWU 46-37; 3-point goals: Midland 9-19 (Cass 3, Kramer 3, Jones 2, Shepard 1), DWU 10-26 (Martin 3, Miller 5, Vandeberg 2); Rebounds: Midland 31 (Shepard 9), DWU 30 (Newton 11); Assists: Midland 10 (Jones 5), DWU 21 (Bergh 7, Martin 7); Total fouls: Midland 22, DWU 18; Turnovers: Midland 4, DWU 5; A-1,800

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