MITCHELL, S.D. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team continued Great Plains Athletic Conference play on Saturday evening as they traveled to take on No. 7-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University. The Warriors battled hard throughout against the top-ten team before ultimately falling 85-65 to the Tigers at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
After playing even through the first nine minutes of the first half, the Tigers would go on a 10-0 run put them ahead 27-17. It was a four-minute stretch that saw the Warriors miss a few open looks while the home team hit four straight buckets. They would ride that lead into halftime where they led 42-33.
The second half saw the Warriors work their way back within striking distance a few times. They got as close as five a couple of times early before another big run by Dakota Wesleyan extended a nine point lead to 21 with 4:29 to go.
“We thought we competed hard for 32 of the 40 minutes tonight,” said head coach Oliver Drake. “We have to clean up some stuff that’s under our control in order to give ourselves the opportunity to compete against a top-ten nationally ranked opponent on the road.”
As a team the Warriors shot 23 of 59 from the field (39%) and were 9 of 24 (37.5%) from behind the arc. The Tigers were 29 of 66 (43.9%) and connected on 13 of 36 from three-point range (36.1%). On the board Dakota Wesleyan had a slight rebounding edge, 35-30. The biggest gap in team stats were in second-chance points. DWU had 22 points off of 12 Midland turnovers while the Warriors had just 9 points off of 9 turnovers by the Tigers.
Individually the Warriors were led by Laurence Merritt with 22 points in 40 minutes of action. The junior guard also added four rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Ryan Williams and Hunter Mengel scored 13 and 12 points respectively to join Merritt in double-figures. Williams was the high rebounder for Midland with eight.
“We are making progress even though were aren’t seeing the results yet,” Coach Drake added. “We all just have to stay the course and keep working to get better. We have more stiff competition coming up next weekend against a pair of NCAA DII programs.”
Midland (2-4, 0-2 GPAC) will travel to Colorado for a pair of exhibition games against Western Colorado and Colorado Mesa on November 22-23. Both games will be played in Gunnison with tip times set for 5:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time. The Warriors will return to GPAC play on November 26 when they travel to Hastings to take on the Broncos.
MITCHELL, S.D. – Midland University women’s basketball faced yet another highly-ranked opponent on the road in No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan University but could not keep pace as they fell by a score of 71-48. The matchup served as the second consecutive game in which the Warriors have faced a top-ten opponent.
Midland falls to 3-4 on the year with an 0-2 mark in Great Plains Athletic Conference action. Dakota Wesleyan improves to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the GPAC.
The Warriors shot 28.8 percent (17-of-59) from the field compared to 51.9 percent (28-of-54) for the Tigers. Dakota Wesleyan held a slight 31-27 edge in rebounds on the night. Senior guard Amanda Hansen led Midland with 15 points while also chipping in four rebounds. Sophomore guard Lexis Haase and freshman guard Erin Prusa each paced the team with five rebounds.
Midland held an early lead after a layup from Maddie Meadows brought the score to 9-6. Dakota Wesleyan would score seven-straight to take back the lead which they maintained for the fruition of the first quarter.
The Tigers opened the second quarter with a six-point run before a layup from Prusa cut the lead to 23-15. Lexi Kraft hit two free-throws to pull Midland within five, but Dakota Wesleyan answered back and took a 32-22 lead heading into the break.
Midland came out of the break and hit two three-pointers to cut the deficit to 32-28 with nine minutes to go in the quarter. The Tigers answered back and went up 46-31 before a layup from Haase got Midland back on track. Dakota Wesleyan would score six points in the final three minutes of the quarter to take a 53-33 lead into the final quarter.
Hansen scored three early points which were followed up with a three from sophomore guard Sam Shepard to bring the score to 55-39. The Tigers would go on a 10-3 run to take their largest lead of the evening at 65-42. Midland connected on late free-throws, but the Tigers maintained a sizable lead and ran away with the 71-48 win.
The Warriors (3-4, 0-2 GPAC) will be on the road to face NCAA Division II Augustana University in exhibition action on Tuesday, November 19. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.