Cold first half dooms Tiger men against Hastings

Jalen Voss from DWU.

Jalen Voss

Luke Bamberg from DWU.

Luke Bamberg

Aireus Stephenson from DWU.

Aireus Stephenson

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team shot just 31 percent from the field and scored 24 points in the first half and never recovered in a 90-77 loss to Hastings College Sunday afternoon in Hastings, Neb.

The loss is the second straight for DWU, which is now 9-11 overall and 4-7 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Tigers beat Hastings – which was receiving votes in the NAIA at the time – 91-79 on Dec. 1 at the Corn Palace.

Sunday afternoon, the Broncos (16-5, 7-4) snagged an early 9-0 lead before the Tigers scored their first points of the game on a jumper by Aireus Stephenson with 17:16 left in the first half. DWU got within five, 11-6, on a jumper by Luke Bamberg at 15:42, but didn’t score again until Carde Pennington scored with 9:56 left in the half. By that time, the Broncos had amassed a 23-8 lead. Hastings – which shot nearly 60 percent in the first half – led 45-24 at halftime.

The Tigers went on an 8-1 run to start the second half and cut Hastings’ lead to 13, 46-33, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Brady Lollman and Carson Blum made it a 20-point game, 55-35, with 14:59 left to play. Dakota Wesleyan made it an 11-point game, 77-66, on a three-point play by Jalen Voss with 4:39 left, but the Broncos answered with a 6-0 run to push their lead back to 17 and held on for the win.

Voss finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds to pace Dakota Wesleyan. Stephenson added 17 points and Bamberg finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Pennington also chipped in with 12 points for the Tigers, who shot 45.5 percent from the field and hit five 3-pointers. DWU went 12-for-19 from the line and had 32 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

Dane Bacon led all scorers with 22 points for Hastings. Dylan Flinn added 20 points and Lollman finished with 15. Brett Wells and Zach Lenagh each had seven rebounds and Lollman also had four assists. Hastings shot 58 percent from the field and went 9-for-16 from long range. The Broncos went 15-for-23 from the line and had 35 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

Dakota Wesleyan is back at home Wednesday, Jan. 9, when it hosts Dakota State University in a nonconference game at the Corn Palace. The men’s game tips off at 8 p.m.