SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Forty minutes that left Morningside College and University of Jamestown fans alike breathless at their conclusion Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Despite a tough-luck 86-84 loss for the host and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ second-ranked Mustangs to the 13th ranked Jimmies, fans huddled inside Allee Gymnasium at the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center saw a 2019 Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament finale they won’t soon forget. Back-and-forth offensive play, edge-of-your-seat battles for loose balls and strong defensive plays on both ends were on display throughout the evening.
Head coach Jim Sykes‘ squad delivered another balanced attack as has been 2018-19’s norm. Junior forward/center Tyler Borchers (JR/Le Mars, IA ) (LeMars, Iowa) compiled his sixth overall and fourth double-double in the last six appearances with a steely-resolved 26 points and 13 rebounds that was just part of the story. He also blocked two Jamestown shot attempts, dished out three assists and picked up two steals during an evening in which he moved into No. 11 on the all-time scoring list and reeled off his 16th straight double-figure scoring game. Senior guard Brody Egger (SR/Urbandale, IA) (Urbandale, Iowa), stepping on to the Allee floor for the final time, added 15 along with junior forward Matt Hahn (JR/Fremont, NE ) (Fremont, Neb.). Junior guard Alex Borchers (JR/South Sioux City, NE ) (South Sioux City, Neb.), who recently joined the 1000-point club, tallied 13.
Despite the impressive figures, Morningside couldn’t shake the aggressive Jamestown offense. After scoring 13 of the first 20 points to the joy of the exuberant home crowd, the Jimmies answered and stayed within seven points-or-less of their hosts over the remainder. The difference down the stretch proved to be the long-range shooting abilities of Jamestown and a rough span of free throw shooting for the Maroon. Even with that figured in, Mside did make a final charge, after trailing by six at one point over the last 10 minutes, but couldn’t convert on opportunities in the final moments.
The Mustangs (27-3) now wait to see their pairing in the 2019 NAIA tournament Wednesday, Feb. 27. The bracket reveal will be available at www.facebook.com/PlayNAIA at 5 p.m.