SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team was unable to overcome an early deficit as they fell to No. 6 Morningside College, 89-59 Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.
Trailing 5-0 early, Jason Spicer (Sioux Falls, S.D.) got the Tigers (22-10) on the board with a layup. Moments later, Tyson Smiley (Omaha, Neb.) found Nygel Drury (Madison, Wis.) for the layup, to make it a 9-4 game. However, the Mustangs (25-6) used an 8-2 run over the next three minutes to take a double-digit lead, forcing the DWU timeout.
Neither team scored a basket for three minutes midway through the first half. But, Aaron Ahmadu (Houston, Texas) broke the scoreless streak as he drove in for a layup. Moments later, Ahmadu nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a 29-18 game. Morningside finished the first half on a 15-4 run to take a 44-22 lead at halftime.
Spicer came out in the second half knocking down a jump shot on DWU's opening possession. Two possessions later, Collin Kramer (Volga, S.D.) found nothing but net as he made a three-point shot, followed by a layup to cut into the deficit.
Midway through the second half, Kramer made another 3-pointer in an attempt to kickstart the Tiger offense. The Morningside offense was too much as they maintained their lead for the remainder of the game to defeat DWU in the GPAC Semifinal matchup.
Ahmadu led DWU off the bench as he scored 15 points, while Kramer notched 14 points and Spicer tallied 10 points and five assists. Smiley added eight points and four rebounds, while Kellen Barden (Whitewood, S.D.) chipped in seven points. DWU shot 42 percent from the field and 22 bench points.
The Tigers await the pairings of the NAIA Men's National Basketball Tournament as they will be announced Wednesday. The NAIA National Tournament begins on March 7 in Sioux Falls, S.D.