MITCHELL, S.D. – With 1:44 remaining in the game, senior Tate Martin (Mitchell, S.D.) knew the No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team needed a basket to put No. 20 Northwestern College out of reach for good.
Martin drove to the basket, sank a layup and was fouled. Seconds later, the all-time assists leader in DWU history, buried a free throw to give the Tigers (22-8, 13-5 GPAC) an 83-77 victory in a crucial Great Plains Athletic Conference showdown over the Red Raiders in front of a packed Corn Palace crowd on Wednesday night in Mitchell, S.D.
It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the game as DWU took its first lead with 12:56 remaining in the first half, thanks a 3-pointer from freshman phenom Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.)
Under six minutes to go, the Red Raiders (23-6, 13-5 GPAC) ran out to a 10-point lead, but the Tigers wouldn't go away. In the closing seconds, Jason Spicer (Sioux Falls, S.D.) tallied six-straight points for DWU. Moments later, a made free throw gave the Red Raiders a one-point lead heading into the locker room.
Just as he started the scoring for the Tigers in the first half, Martin buried a 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the second half to put the Tigers back on top, 38-36. DWU led until the 12:04 mark, but couldn't find its rhythm until junior Trae Vandeberg nailed a 3-pointer with 3:13 left in the contest. A few layups by Spicer and Martin secured the victory for DWU.
Spicer led both teams in scoring with 27 points, while grabbing nine rebounds. Hoglund tallied 25 points and seven rebounds, while Martin finished with 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds. The Tigers finished 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc and 76 percent from the free-throw line.
Prior to the game, Martin was honored as the lone senior of the 2017 DWU men's basketball team.
The Tigers await their next opponent for the GPAC Tournament that is slated to begin on Wednesday.
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