Tenth-ranked Morningside clinched at least a share of the 2017-18 GPAC men’s basketball championship when it blew out Dordt 93-72 on the Defenders’ home court on Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The Mustangs finished with a 14-4 league slate and hold a temporary half-game lead over city rival Briar Cliff (13-4) in the league standings. The Chargers can also finish 14-4 with a victory against Dordt this Saturday in Sioux City.
The Mustangs won their fifth regular season GPAC title during the Jim Sykes coaching era and will take a 23-6 record into next week’s GPAC Post-Season Tournament, which will begin with quarterfinal round contests at the top four seeds on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
The win against Dordt was the 299th victory of Sykes’ Morningside career and assured him of being a 300-game winner when the Mustangs pick up a forfeit for a game against Grace University that was scheduled for this Saturday before Grace elected to forfeit its season.
Morningside never trailed against Dordt and opened a double figure lead less than eight minutes into the contest when a 3-point basket by Pierce Almond put the guests up 21-11 with 12:17 left in the first half.
The Mustangs took a 49-36 lead into the intermission and scored the first seven points of the second half to extend their lead to 20 points (56-36) with 18:34 left in the game.
Morningside eventually led by a game-high 29 points when Brody Egger struck from 3-point distance to make it 84-55 with 7:09 left.
Freshman guard Zach Imig poured in a game-high 20 points for Morningside to match his season’s scoring high. Imig drilled 10 of 14 floor shots.
Mustang starters Egger and Tyler Borchers each scored 15 points and the Mustangs received double figure scoring production off the bench from Trey Brown with 11 points and Andrew Semadeni with a career-high 10 points. Almond and Alex Borchers just missed double figures with nine and eight points, respectively. Matthew Hahn completed the Mustangs’ scoring summary with five points.
Aside from matching his season’s scoring high, Imig grabbed a game and season’s high nine rebounds to lead the Mustangs to a 39-37 rebounding advantage. Imig and Matthew Hahn shared game honors with five assists. Hahn also had a game-high three steals.
Morningside drilled 38 of 68 field goal attempts for 55.9 percent. The Mustangs, who were 10 of 20 from the 3-point arc, have shot over 50 percent in 11 of their last 13 contests.
Madison Braun poured in a game-high 35 points to go along with a game-high six steals to lead 15th-ranked Morningside to an 89-81 GPAC women’s basketball victory against Dordt on Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The win enabled the Mustangs to snap a three-game losing streak and put their record at 19-10 going into this Saturday’s regular season finale against College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb.
Braun made 13 of 20 floor shots, including a five-for-10 effort from the 3-point arc, against the Defenders en route to her fourth scoring performance over 30 points this season. She has been the Mustangs’ leading scorer in 12 of their last 14 games.
Mustang freshman Sierra Mitchell also had a big night with 19 points and fellow freshman Mady Maly contributed 11 points off the bench behind a perfect four-for-four shooting performance from the field.
Morningside reserves Lauren Lehmkuhl and Jenna Bork scored seven and six points, respectively, while starter Jordyn Moser scored five points to go along with a team-high six rebounds.
Braun and Rachelle Housh each added five rebounds. Dordt edged the Mustangs’ 38-37 in the team rebounding count.
Dordt, which entered the game with four wins in its last six games, had five players score in double figures. Kenzie Bousema led the hosts with 14 points, while Erika Feenstra was right behind with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Dordt stayed within single digits for almost the entire game. The Mustangs led 25-19 after the first quarter, 44-41 at the intermission and 67-60 after three quarters. Morningside twice led by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the last time at 83-73 with 1:17 left in the game.