MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team avenged an ugly road loss Wednesday night when it beat in-state rival Mount Marty College 77-54 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game at the Corn Palace.
Four players scored in double digits for the Tigers, who got big contributions from everyone on the court. The win ensured a season split between the two teams, as the Lancers beat Dakota Wesleyan 8-70 when the two teams met in December in Yankton, S.D.
Neither team led by more than four to start the game, and the Tigers (11-12, 6-7) led 19-15 with 10:14 left in the first half, but Mount Marty came back and tied the game at 19-19 with 8:48 left in the half. From there, Bo LaCroix scored and Carde Pennington converted a three-point play to spark a 16-5 DWU run that ended with 35-24 lead for the Tigers with 4:08 left in the first half. DWU extended the run to 26-9 to end the half with a 45-28 lead.
Dakota Wesleyan pushed its lead to 20 on a three by Mike Lee to start the second half. The Tigers maintained a 20-point lead much of the second half, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Salidin Smith and Joe Hieb cut the Tigers’ lead to 14, 60-46, with 8:59 left to play. DWU responded with an 11-2 run that ended with a three by Kris Menning and a 71-48 lead with 3:46 to play, and the Tigers held on for the win.
Aireus Stephenson led Dakota Wesleyan with 20 points, including a jumper at the 14:25 mark of the first half to score the Tigers’ 10th point and break the silence of the ‘Silent Night.’ The crowd didn’t make a sound until that basket. Lee added 12 points, Luke Bamberg had 11 points and eight rebounds and LaCroix finished with 10 points. Menning also had eight points and nine rebounds. DWU shot 51 percent from the field, went 12-for-18 from the line and had 33 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
Jeff Larsen led Mount Marty with 14 points and Smith added 13. Chris Richardson and Chevy Fischer each had five rebounds. The Lancers (7-15, 3-11) shot 41.2 percent from the field, went 9-for-9 from the line and had 29 rebounds and 18 turnovers.
Dakota Wesleyan is on the road Saturday, Jan. 26, when it travels to Crete, Neb., to take on Doane College at 4 p.m.