MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men gave up a 16-point second-half lead, but still held on for an 81-69 win over Midland University Saturday night at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers led 59-43 with 11:55 left to play, but the Warriors – who are receiving votes in the NAIA – mounted a 22-8 run to cut DWU’s lead to two, 67-65, with just over six minutes left to play. Carde Pennington slowed the run with a 3-pointer to push the Tigers’ lead back to five and spark an 8-2 run. Pennington hit a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left to push DWU’s lead back to eight, 75-67.
Ben Imig hit a pair of free throws to cut the gap to six with 38 seconds left, but Pennington hit two more free throws, Aireus Stephenson scored on a layup and Jalen Voss hit two free throws to help the Tigers hold on for the win.
Midland took an early lead, but a layup by Voss at the 12:40 mark put DWU up one, 10-9. That layup sparked a 14-5 run that included a three-point play and a 3-pointer by Mike Lee and ended with a 10-point Tiger lead. The Warriors cut the gap to four, and DWU was able to extend the lead several times, but Jalen Hueser hit a three to make it a four-point game, 34-30, at halftime.
Galen Gullie hit a three for Midland to make it a one-point game early in the second half, but Luke Bamberg scored to start a 21-8 run that ended with a 55-41 lead for DWU with 14:16 left to play. A layup by Pennington made it a 16-point game before the Warriors made their comeback.
Voss finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Dakota Wesleyan. Lee and Pennington added 15 points and Bamberg and Stephenson each added 11. Bamberg also had eight rebounds and five assists. The Tigers shot 58.3 percent from the field, hit eight 3-pointers and went 17-for-19 from the line. DWU (13-13, 8-8) had 33 rebounds and 13 turnovers.
Avery Langford led Midland (15-10, 10-7) with 14 points. Gullie added 13 and Hueser chipped in with 12 points. The Warriors shot 42 percent from the field, hit 10 threes and went 5-for-9 from the line. They had 27 rebounds and nine turnovers.
DWU is on the road Wednesday, Feb. 6, when it travels to Sioux Center, Iowa, to take on Dordt College.