The Mount Marty University men’s basketball team entered Wednesday night’s Great Plains Athletic Conference game with Briar Cliff looking for its first conference win under first-year head coach Collin Authier.

The Lancers gave multiple runs at the Briar Cliff lead, but fell short Wednesday night at Laddie E. Cimpl Arena. The Chargers took down Mount Marty 80-74.

“I’m proud of our guys. I said from the very beginning that who we were on October 23 will be different than who we are on February 23, and games like this allow us to grow,” Authier said. “I’m proud of the growth that we took as a program today.”

The Chargers scored the first 11 points of the game, but the Lancers played even for the remainder of the first half. Mount Marty was within seven at 34-27, but a technical foul on Tyrell Harper followed by a shooting foul on the Lancers gave Briar Cliff three points at the free throw line to end the half.

“it was a great crowd,” Authier said. “Our students were here, appreciate them being here, that means a lot. Our community was here. That’s the things we’re trying to grow in our program, our culture and our atmosphere. I think our guys were a little nervous.”

The Lancers came out of the second half on fire, cutting into the Briar Cliff lead, getting it to a one possession game at 47-44. Briar Cliff responded with a run of their own to stretch the lead back out to nine.

The Lancers again got within a possession and had the ball trailing 61-58. Briar Cliff responded with six straight points to make it a nine point game again.

“I trust our guys, I let our guys play,” Authier said. “I’m not a micromanager on the floor, I have leaders and I trust them. I have good players that are really good kids that are here to grow and get better…. Sometimes they have to go through adversity together and learn to stay together. To see them respond the way they did (tonight) is evidence of that growth.”

After a basket from the Lancers, the Chargers continued their run, stretching the lead out to 14 points with less than four minutes to play. The Lancers got three straight buckets to get the lead down to eight with 2:22 to play, calling a timeout in the process.

The Lancers were unable to get clean looks up in the next 70 seconds and Briar Cliff was able to run the shot clock down on the other end. Ultimately, the Lancers weren’t able to get over the hump and take the lead from the Chargers, resulting in an 80-74 win for Briar Cliff.

Quinn Vesey tallied 16 points to lead the Chargers. Jaden Kleinhesselink added 14 points and Nick Hoyt 13. The fourth Charger in double figures was Conner Groves with 12 points.

Harper led the Lancers with 19 points and seven rebounds. Elijah Pappas added 16 points and Kade Stearns 12.

The Lancers will turn to Saturday’s game against Hastings to try and get Authier his first conference win as the Lancers head coach.

“I don’t care about the first conference win for me, I want it for our guys, that means more to me than anything,” Authier said. “Our guys are working hard. They deserve to win because they’re putting in a lot of work. At the end of the day, we just have to keep working on our consistency and getting better.”

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BRIAR CLIFF (4-3)

Quinn Vesey 6-10 2-2 16, Conner Groves 5-11 0-0 12, Jaden Kleinhesselink 5-6 1-2 14, Quinten Vasa 2-6 0-0 4, Kyle Boerhave 4-10 1-1 9, Sammy Green 1-3 2-2 5, Andrew Gibb 1-1 0-0 2, Nick Hoyt 2-2 5-6 13, Matthew Stilwill 2-2 3-4 7. TOTALS 29-55 14-17 82.

MOUNT MARTY (3-5)

Josh Arlt 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Pappas 5-11 3-3 16, Tyrell Harper 9-15 0-0 19, Kade Stearns 4-6 0-0 12, Lincoln Jordre 4-6 0-0 8, Nick Coleman 2-6 2-2 6, Chase Altenburg 1-1 0-0 2, Gio Diaz 1-2 0-0 3, Matthew Becker 3-4 1-2 8. TOTALS 29-52 6-7 74.

At Half: BC 37, MMU 27. Three-Pointers: MMU 10-23 (Stearns 4-5, Pappas 3-8, Diaz 1-2, Becker 1-2, Harper 1-4, Arlt 0-1, Jordre 0-1). BC 10-21 (Kleinhesselink 3-3, Vesey 2-2, Hoyt 2-5, Groves 2-6, Green 1-3, Vasa 0-2). Rebounds: MMU 25 (Harper 7), BC 23 Boerhave 7). Assists: MMU 10 (Arlt 2, Harper 2, Stearns 2, Jordre 2), BC 9 (Groves 2, Green 2) Steals: BC 10 (Vesey 2, Groves 2, Kleinhesselink 2), MMU 5 (Harper 2). Blocked Shots:MMU 2 (Harper, Jordre), BC 1 (Vasa). Personal Fouls: MMU 16, BC 13. Turnovers: MMU 12, BC 9. Attendance: 178.

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