Morningside beats Tiger men, 80-69

Aireus Stephenson from DWU.

Aireus Stephenson

Bo LaCroix from DWU.

Bo LaCroix

Jalen Voss from DWU.

Jalen Voss

MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team lost 80-69 to Morningside College Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. The Tigers scored the first basket of the game and scored again a few seconds later to go up 4-3, but never led again.

Dakota Wesleyan – which is now 4-6 overall and 1-3 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference – tied the game at nine just over six minutes in, but the Mustangs went on a 13-2 run to go up 22-11 with 8:38 left in the first half. The Tigers cut the gap to five twice, including 26-21 with 3:11 left in the first half, but Danny Rudeen hit a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 Mustang run to put Morningside up 32-21 at halftime.

Morningside was able to extend its lead early in the second half, and went up by 16, 47-31, with 14:58 left to play. A three by Tyler Johnson made it 52-33 with 13:13 remaining, but the Tigers responded with a 9-0 run to make it a 10-point game with just over 11 minutes left to play.

The Mustangs answered with a 15-2 run to go up 23, 67-44, with 6:41 left in the game. Dakota Wesleyan made it a 10-point game again with 1:38 left to play, but it was too little, too late.

Aireus Stephenson finished with 16 points to lead the Tigers. Bo LaCroix added 11 points and Jalen Voss finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dakota Wesleyan shot 41 percent from the field, including just 30 percent in the first half. The Tigers went 15-for-19 from the line and had 36 rebounds and 18 turnovers.

Rudeen finished with a game-high 20 points for Morningside (5-5, 3-1). Kyle Nikkel finished with 15 points and five rebounds, Tanner Ferguson added 13 points and Trent Miller had 10 points and 10 assists. The Mustangs shot 52.5 percent from the field, went 12-for-15 from the line and had 29 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

Dakota Wesleyan is on the road Saturday, Dec. 8, when it travels to Seward, Neb., to take on Concordia University.