GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – A nip-and-tuck battle between two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ perennial national tourney contenders went down to the final seconds Friday, Nov. 1.
No. 23-ranked Indiana Tech made a run at head coach Jim Sykes‘ No. 4-ranked Mustangs down the stretch, leading by as much as five with less than seven minutes to go. However, as was the case when needed throughout the evening, junior center Trey Brown (JR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) stepped forward. His lay-up shut off an 8-0 Tech rally that gave them their largest advantage and started a seven-point comeback that Mside didn’t relinquish. Brown’s influence didn’t end there, as he shook off a missed free throw with seven seconds left and calmly sank the second attempt for a 59-58 lead. Tech attempted a winning three-pointer but the long-range shot missed iron and bounded away, sealing Morningside’s third straight season-opening contest victory.
Brown turned in a team-high 11 points to go with five rebounds and a blocked shot. Fellow paint patroller, Jacob Fierst (FR/West Allis, WI), a freshman from West Allis, Wis., added to the bench highlights with nine points and a blocked shot. Junior guard Zach Imig (JR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) and senior forward/center Tyler Borchers (SR/Le Mars, IA ) (LeMars, Iowa) were next in line with eight points apiece. Imig also registered four assists and two steals.
Early on, Sykes squad appeared on the verge of overwhelming their opponents, scoring 11 of the first 17 points only five minutes in. That margin increased to eight with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half, but Mside couldn’t manage to shake Indiana Tech.
The Mustangs continue their rugged non-conference slate Saturday, Nov. 2, when they take on tourney host Cornerstone University. Tip-off against the No. 12 Golden Eagles is 2 p.m. Central Standard Time.
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – A trio of senior forward Sydney Hupp (SR/O’Neill, NE) (O’Neill, Neb.), junior guard Sierra Mitchell (JR/Pleasant Hill, IA) (Pleasant, Hill, Iowa) and sophomore forward Sophia Peppers (SO/Exira, IA) (Exira, Iowa) guided Morningside College to its second successive 100-point-plus outing in a season opener Friday, Nov. 1.
Hupp topped the group with a memorable evening inside Briar Cliff University’s Newman Flanagan Center. She compiled her ninth career double-double, scoring 24 points and snaring 14 rebounds while recording head coach Jamie Sale‘s squad’s lone blocked shot. Hupp, hitting at a 58.8 percent clip from the field (10 of 17), wasn’t the only member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ No. 19-ranked Division II side to have a hot hand.
Mitchell, en route to her eighth career 25-points-or-more outing, drained five three-pointers as part of a 27-point, two steals, and two assists. Peppers chipped in 17 points and was just one rebound shy of joining Hupp in double-double territory while being nearly perfect from the field (six of eight). Junior guard Grace Meyer (JR/Pomeroy, IA) (Pomeroy, Iowa) headlined a strong bench presence that registered 27 points with 12.
Morningside was sluggish early, scoring only four points in the first seven and a half minutes. However, an 11-3 turnaround to close the first period helped spark a second stanza run that saw the Maroon take their first lead in the final minute and not look back towards a 101-86 victory to begin the 2019 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference – Great Plains Athletic Conference Challenge.
The Mustangs continue CCAC-GPAC Challenge action Saturday, Nov. 2. Tip-off versus No. 17-ranked Saint Xavier University is 1 p.m.
NOTES: Senior guard Jordyn Moser (SR/Harlan, IA) (Harlan, Iowa) dished out a team-high eight assists. She and Peppers shared the steals category lead … The Maroon managed a good share of their point total via the second chance option, out-boarding No. 24-ranked Olivet Nazarene University 56-36. Sophomore guard Taylor Rodenburgh (SO/Hawarden, IA) (Hawarden, Iowa) was also near double figures off the glass (nine).