JOLIET, Ill. – In a game where they never trailed, the No. 6 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team handled the University of St. Francis, 80-71 to win the St. Francis Thanksgiving Classic Sunday in Joliet, Ill.
Collin Kramer (Volga, S.D.) nailed a 3-pointer to give the Tigers (8-0) an 18-7 lead just six minutes into the game. DWU continued to build on its' lead as Tristan Teichmeier (Sioux Falls, S.D.) made back-to-back layups.
After Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) made a 3-point basket and Tyson Smiley (Omaha, Neb.) made a free throw, the Fighting Saints (4-3) began to chip away at the DWU lead. They made three-straight shots from beyond the arc to cut the Tiger lead to single digits.
Harden scored the final five points for the Tigers to give them an 11-point lead at intermission, 44-33.
McCloud and Smiley kicked off the second period with baskets to help the Tigers jump out to a 13-point lead. With 12:50 to play, Smiley made another layup to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the day at 17 points.
USF called a timeout to regroup following the Smiley layup. After the timeout, the Fighting Saints made it an eight-point game with 9:18 to play.
Mason Larson (Langford, S.D.) gave life to the Tigers as he knocked down a 3-pointer with under seven minutes to play. The Tigers hung on down the stretch to down the Fighting Saints and win their eighth game of the season.
Hoglund finished with 20 points and five assists, while Harden added 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Smiley tallied 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, six rebounds and four assists. The Tigers shot 50% from the field and 37.9% from 3-point range. DWU outrebounded the Fighting Saints 34-29, while finishing with 17 assists.
The Tigers return home to host in-state rival, (RV) Mount Marty College at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Corn Palace.