RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team split a pair of games over the weekend at the South Dakota Tech Thanksgiving Classic in Rapid City, S.D. The Tigers beat the University of Great Falls – an NAIA Division I school from Montana – 68-63 Friday night before losing 61-58 to host-school S.D. Tech Saturday night.
Friday night, the Tigers (3-4) led by 15, 62-47, with 8:42 left to play against Great Falls, but UGF went on a 14-0 run that included three 3-pointers and cut DWU’s lead to one, 62-61, with 3:46 left to play. Luke Bamberg ended DWU’s scoring drought with a jumper to put the Tigers up by three with 1:40 left to play, but Great Falls made it a one-point game on a pair of free throws with just over a minute left to play.
Jalen Voss hit a jumper with 33 seconds left to play to put DWU up three, 66-63, and Danny Maman hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to seal the win.
Dakota Wesleyan led early and pushed its lead to 10, 16-6, seven minutes into the game. Great Falls answered with a 7-0 run to make it a three-point game, and later made it a one-point game, 19-18, with 9:11 left in the first half. Great Falls took an eight-point lead thanks to a 14-0 run and led 27-19 with just under five minutes left in the half, and led 30-29 at halftime.
DWU took an early second-half lead on a jumper by Maman, and was able to extend that lead before UGF made its run.
Voss, Aireus Stephenson and Carde Pennington all finished with 13 points to pace Dakota Wesleyan, which shot 40 percent from the field. Bamberg added 12 points and Voss also had 10 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double. DWU went 21-for-24 from the line and had 41 rebounds and 16 turnovers.
Marcel Towns led Great Falls with 15 points, Naren Maynard had 14 and James Holmes and TJ Harris finished with 11 points. Maynard also had 12 rebounds. Great Falls shot 37 percent from the field, hit six threes and went 9-for-13 from the line. UGF also had 42 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
Saturday night, the Hardrockers led Dakota Wesleyan by 13, 47-34, with 12:26 left to play in the second half. The Tigers responded with a 15-3 run that spanned nearly six minutes and ended with a 51-50 lead for Dakota Wesleyan with 6:50 to play. Tech took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws and went up by three on a jumper by Caleb Shockman, but DWU tied the game on a three by Pennington with 5:14 to play.
That was the last tie of the game as the Hardrockers responded with a three and extended their lead to five before Stephenson hit a three to make it a two-point game, 60-58, with 1:48 left. South Dakota Tech sealed the win with a free throw by Nolan Lucas in the final minute of the game.
The Tigers led Tech much of the first half, and Pennington gave DWU a seven-point lead, 17-10, with 11:23 left in the half, but the Hardrockers came back and led 29-28 at halftime.
Pennington finished with 14 points to lead the Tigers Saturday and Stephenson added 13. Maman and Voss both had five rebounds. DWU shot 45 percent from the field, went 9-for-11 from the line, and had 29 rebounds and 18 turnovers. AJ Trennepohl led Tech with 17 points and Shockman finished with 16. The Hardrockers shot 45 percent from the field, went 11-for-16 from the line and had 25 rebounds and 20 turnovers.
The Tigers are back at home Wednesday, Nov. 28, when they play their first home Great Plains Athletic Conference game of the season against No. 3 Dordt College. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.