MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team shot nearly 52 percent from the field and went 10-for-10 from the line Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the Tigers’ opponent was even hotter.
Dordt College shot 57 percent from the field – including 55.6 percent from three-point range – and hit 15 3-pointers en route to a 95-78 win over the Tigers at the Corn Palace. DWU is now 3-5 overall and 0-2 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, while the No. 3 Defenders improved to 8-1 overall and 2-1 in the league.
Dordt took an early lead Wednesday night, but the Tigers never let the Defenders out of their sights. DWU took a brief lead on a layup by Luke Bamberg five minutes into the game, and another on a three by Mike Lee with eight minutes left in the first half, but the Defenders were able to maintain a slim lead much of the half. Dordt pushed its lead to nine, 38-29, with 3:47 left in the half, but Danny Maman hit back-to-back threes to make it a five-point game, 40-35, with 2:22 left.
Jalen Voss and Aireus Stephenson both scored to bring Dakota Wesleyan within one, 40-39, with 1:38 left in the half, but Shawn Keizer hit a three with just over a minute remaining in the half to make it a four-point game, 43-39, and that’s where the score would stay heading into halftime.
Cliff Warner hit a three to start the half and spark a 7-0 run for the Defenders, who held DWU scoreless for just over three minutes to start the second half. Dordt pushed its lead to double digits, but a three by Stephenson made it a six-point game, 70-64, with 8:09 to play. Austin Katje and Warner each responded with a three to put Dordt up 12, 76-64, with 6:22 to play, and the Defenders maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the game.
Lee finished with 20 points to pace Dakota Wesleyan. Stephenson added 19 points and four assists, Maman had 15 points and Voss had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year. The Tigers shot 51.7 percent from the field, hit six 3-pointers and went 10-for-10 from the line. DWU had 26 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
Warner and Trevor Wolterstorff each scored 21 points for Dordt. Warner went 7-for-14 from three-point range. Katje added 18 points and Keizer and Chris Sievers each added 11 points. Katje also had seven rebounds and Warner had seven assists. Dordt shot 56.9 percent from the field and went 15-for-27 and shot 55.6 percent from long range. The Tigers went 14-for-16 from the line and had 29 rebounds and 14 turnovers.
Dakota Wesleyan is back at home Saturday, Dec. 1, when it hosts Hastings College at 4 p.m.