SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Memories made for a lifetime.
While a potential run to the top of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Division II mountain wound up just short of the summit, what head coach Jim Sykes, his staff and the 2018-19 Mustangs experienced from late October to early March captured the imagination and heart of the campus and community. The successes were many including a school-record-tying 29 wins; the program’s seventh Great Plains Athletic Conference overall and second straight league title; a league Defensive Player of the Year honor for junior forward/center Tyler Borchers (LeMars, Iowa) and Coach of the Year accolades for Sykes among multiple all-GPAC recognitions and Tyler Borchers, senior guard Brody Egger (Urbandale, Iowa) and junior guard Alex Borchers (South Sioux City, Iowa) all climbing up the all-time scoring lists as 1,000-point club members
Morningside, winding up the year at 29-4 with a second successive Elite Eight berth, didn’t miss its first advancement to the national semifinals by much. As the top seed of the Cramer Bracket, they kept after second-seeded College of Idaho, who made its second successive trip to the Fab Four, throughout a gritty 40 minutes at the Sanford Pentagon.
Despite trailing by 10 at the break, the Maroon answered the challenge, tying the Coyotes at 46 and 52-all in the second stanza. However, each time the partisan Morningside crowd was ready to see their side take the lead, COI answered with clutch baskets, most of them the three-point variety, which enabled them to hold off Mside 62-59.
Tyler Borchers, winding up a 500-point-plus junior slate, tallied his 18th straight double-figure scoring game with 24 due to a 10-of-10 effort from the field. He also added seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two assists, and a steal. Alex Borchers was also in double digits with 10 points. Even though they weren’t in the 10-points-or-plus territory, junior forward Matt Hahn (Fremont, Neb.) gathered six points, six assists, and six rebounds, and sophomore center Trey Brown (Gretna, Neb.) finished with four points, two assists, six rebounds, and a blocked shot.