Sioux Falls spoiled Senior Night at Wayne State and sole possession of an NSIC South Division title for the Wildcats by rallying for a 79-77 Northern Sun Conference men’s basketball victory over Wayne State College Saturday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. WSC ends the regular season at 19-9 overall and in a three-way tie for first in the NSIC South Division (with Minnesota State and Augustana) at 14-8 in league play. USF is now 18-10 and 13-9 in the NSIC.
Due to the three-way tie, Wayne State fell to the #3 seed in the South Division and will host North Division #6 seed University of Mary in the opening round of the NSIC Tournament Wednesday evening in Wayne.
WSC jumped out early to a 14-3 lead in the first 3:30 of the game. The Wildcats maintained a double digit lead a majority of the first half until a late run by the Cougars cut the WSC lead to six at halftime.
The Wildcats took their biggest lead of the night at 42-30 with 2:10 to play in the half on a pair of Nick Ferrarini free throws.
But USF drained a trio of 3-pointers late to cut the Wildcat advantage to 45-39 at intermission.
Wayne State pushed the lead to nine several times in the second half with the final one coming at 55-46 with 14:47 to play after a Trevin Joseph 3-pointer.
Sioux Falls charged back and took their first lead of the game at 62-61 with 9:05 to play.
Wayne State responded and regained the lead, but the ‘Cats final lead wa at 68-66 on a Nate Mohr basket with 6:42 remaining.
USF scored the next eight points to grab a 74-68 lead.
WSC cut the deficit to one with 48 seconds to play on a pair of Vance Janssen free throws and again at 78-77 on two more Vance Janssen free throws with 12.7 remaining.
Sioux Falls got one of two free throws from Drew Guebert with 12.3 to play for the final margin of 79-77.
Kendall Jacks scored 20 points for Wayne State and moved into fifth place on the all-time scoring list with 1,575 points. He needs just two points to reach fourth place, held by Dennis Siefkes (1,576 points from 1969-73).
Trevin Joseph added 17 points with Vance Janssen scoring 15 and Jordan Janssen 10.
Wayne State ended the game making 28 of 59 shots for 47.5 percent, including 6 of 21 behind the arc, while making 15 of 18 (83.3%) from the foul line.
Drew Guebert accounted for 20 points to lead Sioux Falls. Chase Grinde and Aaron Rothermund each added 16 points for the Cougars.
USF shot 57 percent from the field on 32 of 56 and was 6 of 16 from the 3-point line to go with 9-13 at the stripe.
Sioux Falls held a commanding 34-23 edge in rebounding over WSC with Jordan Janssen grabbing six boards for the Wildcats.
Vance Janssen had four assists for WSC while sophomore Ben Dentlinger recorded three blocked shots, making him the single season blocked shots leader at WSC with 39. The old record was 37 by Byron Haas in the 1986-87 season.
Wayne State will host a first round game in the NSIC/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since the 2000-01 season Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. vs. the University of Mary in Rice Auditorium.
Despite a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore center Brittany Bongartz, the Wayne State College women’s basketball team dropped their regular season finale Saturday night to Sioux Falls 77-72 in Northern Sun Conference women’s basketball played in Wayne at Rice Auditorium. The visiting Cougars improve to 21-7 and 16-6 in the league while WSC falls to 14-14 and 9-13 in NSIC games.
Wayne State never led in the game and rallied several times from double digit deficits to get as close four late in the game, but Sioux Falls always answered with a key 3-pointer to fend off each Wildcat rally.
The Cougars took an early six point lead at 11-5, but WSC rallied to end the first quarter trailing 19-16.
USF took their first double-digit lead at 26-16 with 6:50 to go second quarter. WSC got within three later in the quarter at 31-28 on a Halley Busse layup but the Cougars closed the half with six straight points to take a 37-28 lead at the break.
Sioux Falls took a pair of 11-point leads in the third quarter and held a 52-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.
WSC trailed 63-52 with 6:27 to play, then scored seven straight points and got within four at 63-59 following two Brittany Bongartz free throws.
The Cougars increased their lead to eight at 74-66, but WSC used two free throws each from Bongartz and Kylie Hammer to cut the deficit to four again at 74-70 and got as close as three on a Halley Busse layup with 15 seconds left to make the score 75-72.
Sioux Falls sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to play to make the final score 77-72.
Bongartz led WSC with her fourth double-double of the season, a career-high 25 points with 12 rebounds. She was 7 of 10 from the field and a perfect 10 for 10 at the foul line. Erin Norling added 14 points with Kylie Hammer scoring 12.
Wayne State shot 19 of 55 from the field for 34.5 percent, but was just 2 of 17 behind the arc. The Wildcats made up for it at the free throw line making 32 of 36 for 88.9 percent.
Kaely Hummel scored 20 points for Sioux Falls with Gloria Mulumba also hitting double digits with 12.
The Cougars made 25 of 57 shots for 43.9 percent and hit 9 of 28 from 3-point range. USF made 18 of 22 at the charity stripe.
WSC held a 37-33 edge in rebounding over Sioux Falls thanks to 12 rebounds from Bongartz.
Norling led WSC with four assists while Busse was credited with four steals.
WSC will play in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament Wednesday evening at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota in a 6 p.m. contest.