SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Midland University’s men’s basketball team went to battle with one of the best teams in the NAIA on Wednesday, but the tough road environment was too much.
The Warriors (4-7, 2-4 GPAC) fell to the No. 2 Morningside Mustangs (10-0, 7-0 GPAC) by a final score of 90-68 as the Mustangs stayed perfect on the season.
The Warriors couldn’t slow down one of the most prolific scoring offenses in the country as the Mustangs shot 56.5 percent (35-62) from the field and connected on 11 three-pointers. Morningside also boasts one of the deeper teams in the conference as the Mustangs got over a third of their points (33) from the bench. In all, 12 different Mustangs put points in the box score.
Matt Hahn led the Mustangs as he filled the stat sheet with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Morningside had two other players score in double figures in Brody Egger and Tyler Borchers, who finished with 20 and 14, respectively.
For the Warriors it was freshman Malik Martin leading the team in scoring with a game-high 22 points on 8-13 shooting from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists.
Sophomore Sam Brown was the only other Warrior to reach double figures with 10 points. Brown was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine rebounds on the night. Junior Bryce Parsons and senior Reggie Gradwell each had nine points while freshman Bowen Sandquist had eight off the bench in limited minutes.
The Warriors started the game on an impressive 8-1 run that took Morningside by surprise as Gradwell connected on two early three-point attempts. The Mustangs responded shortly after with a 12-0 run that put them ahead 18-10 midway through the half.
For the rest of the first half, the teams went back and forth as Morningside held tightly to the lead. The Mustangs led 38-27 at the half after Brown and Borchers traded points in the paint.
Morningside pulled away early in the second half, starting the period on a 21-5 run that pushed the Mustangs’ lead to 59-32. For the rest of the game, the lead for Morningside hovered around 28 points with the largest margin reaching 31. The Warriors ended the game on an 8-0 to cut the final deficit to 22 points, a 90-68 final.
Midland’s schedule in the GPAC is a constant grind, and the Warriors got another glimpse of that Wednesday. The young team is in a crucial part of the schedule with just one home game between now and the end of the calendar year, giving the Warriors little time to get comfortable.
The Warriors play again Saturday on the road with a conference game against the Northwestern Red Raiders (7-5, 2-3 GPAC). Tipoff from Orange City, Iowa is set for 4:00 p.m.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Once again the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) is one of the toughest conferences in NAIA women’s basketball. Despite a grueling schedule, Midland University’s women’s team continues to prove that it belongs.
The No. 25 Warriors (7-3, 4-3 GPAC) pulled off an impressive upset over the No. 8 Morningside Mustangs (7-3, 5-3 GPAC) on the road on Wednesday. The win is Midland’s first road win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 12 Morningside 77-73 in Sioux City on December 16, 2016.
The Warriors led for the better part of the first three quarters, but the Mustangs took over the lead at the start of fourth quarter. Morningside held a 49-46 lead with just over five minutes to play, but the Warriors didn’t back down after losing the lead.
Instead, Midland locked the Mustangs down on defense and went on a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead 55-49 with just under a minute remaining. In the final minute, Morningside traded quick buckets for fouls and sent Midland to the line 14 times. The Warriors shot 9-14 from the line in the final 55 seconds to hold on to a 63-58 victory.
Free throws helped make the difference in an otherwise chaotic game. Midland was 22-30 (73.3 percent) from the line, well above Morningside’s mark of 4-8 (50 percent).
With a combined 44 turnovers in the game, half-court offense didn’t come easy to either team. But, defense led to offense for the Warriors as they outscored Morningside 18-7 on points off turnovers. The Warriors also out rebounded the Mustangs 45-31 on their way to notching 14 second chance points.
Midland’s depth was an asset, too, as the Warriors’ bench outscored Morningside’s reserves 23-9, led by talented freshman Lexis Haase. Haase finished with 10 points by way of two three-pointers and 4-6 shooting from the free throw line. Sophomore Katy Gathje also scored eight points in just eight minutes on the floor, going 6-6 from the free throw line.
The Warriors started the game on a 5-0 run, but then found themselves in a 10-10 tie midway through the first quarter. A pair of free throws from each Haase and Gathje and a three-pointer from freshman Sam Shepard gave the Warriors a 17-13 lead at the end of the quarter.
Midland controlled most of the second quarter as well, outscoring Morningside 11-7 in the period, thanks in part to both of Haase’s three-pointers.
In the third quarter, a three-pointer from junior Maddie Meadows pushed Midland’s lead to seven, the largest of the game for either team. Morningside responded and went on an 11-4 run to tie the game with under a minute to play before the fourth quarter. The Mustangs’ run was led by Sierra Mitchell, who paced Morningside with a game-high 20 points on six made three-pointers.
Midland carried a two-point lead into the final quarter before Morningside started on a 7-2 run to take its first lead. The lead was short-lived as Midland’s 9-0 run reclaimed the lead as the Warriors never looked back, stealing an important road game in GPAC.
Senior Maddie Egr led the Warriors with 16 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and nearly recorded a double-double as she grabbed nine rebounds. Junior Amanda Hansencontributed nine points as well, seven of which came in the critical fourth quarter.
Battling a taxing conference schedule, the Warriors continue to perform higher than many thought they would. With 16 total games against ranked opponents, the schedule doesn’t get easier, but the Warriors have proven that they aren’t afraid of the big moments.
Midland will take the floor again Saturday against another highly ranked conference foe. This time, the No. 25 Warriors will travel to Orange City, Iowa to battle with the No. 5 Northwestern Red Raiders (9-1, 5-1 GPAC). Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. inside Bultman Center.