The Mount Marty University men’s basketball team led for the first 30 minutes of action Tuesday night against rival Dakota Wesleyan, but the final 10 minutes proved to be the difference.
The Tigers pulled away with a 67-55 win over Mount Marty Tuesday night inside Laddie E. Cimpl Arena Tuesday night.
“We were up by nine with eight-and-a-half minutes to go, you have to be able to hold those leads at home,” Lancer head men’s basketball coach Collin Authier said. “We’re a program that still learning how to win.”
The Lancers led for the entire first half, taking the lead on the opening shot of the game, and didn’t look back. The Lancers opened up with a 16-8 advantage before Dakota Wesleyan rallied to get within one, 16-15.
Mount Marty responded with another run of their own to take a nine-point lead, their largest of the half at 26-17. The Tigers were done though, as the ended the half on a 10-4 run to get within three at the half, 30-27.
“I thought our first half was good, but we’re not here to win halves, we’re here to win games,” Authier said. “I let the guys know that at halftime. We’re a program that’s learning how to win right now, learning the little intracacies of it and how important little details are.”
Neither team could find their shot from beyond the arc, going a combined 3-of-18 from deep. Despite the shooting woes, the Lancers were 14-of-31 in the first half.
The shooting struggles continued on both side to start the second half, but three-pointers from Elijah Pappas and Kade Stearns helped the Lancers build a 38-31 lead with 13:16 to play, forcing a Tiger timeout.
Following the threes from Pappas and Stearns, Nick Wittler hit a pair of threes to help the Tigers cut the Lancer lead to one, 42-41.
For the next few minutes, the two sides would trade baskets. The Tigers took their first lead with 5:30 at 52-51. After neither side could find the bottom of the net for a minute and a half, The Tigers get a lay-up from Jeffrey Schuch.
“Our pace sped up, we started doing some things that were uncharacteristic,” Authier said. “We started not being as disciplined as we had been the first 30 minutes of doing what we’re supposed to do and running our stuff. Our stuff was working, we put in some tweaks and our guys really embraced that.”
For the final four minutes, the Tigers worked the clock, not letting the Lancers find open shots and converting points on the other end to hold their slim lead.
A three-pointer from Mason Larson stretched the Tiger lead to eight with a minute and a half to play and the Lancers weren’t able to overcome the deficit.
“That’s an upperclass team, they have a lot of seniors that have been through a lot as a program and have won a lot of games, and you could tell late in the game,” Authier said. “They didn’t panic, they stuck with what they did and they trusted it.”
Schuch finished with a 19 point-10 rebound double-double for the Tigers. Larson added15 points and Koln Oppold 14. Wittler contributed 10 points.
Pappas tallied 17 points to pace the Lancer offense. Lincoln Jordre and Nick Coleman added 10 points each for Mount Marty.
The Lancers are in Fremont, Nebraska for a tournament Nov. 27 and 28 against Bellevue and Dakota State.
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DAKOTA WESLEYAN (4-4)
Koln Oppold 4-10 5-6 14, Sawyer Schultz 1-2 0-0 2, Nick Wittler 3-8 1-2 10, Jeffrey Schuch 8-14 3-4 19, Mason Larson 4-10 4-4 15, Alan Kikwaki 0-1 0-0 0, Tyus Arends 0-0 0-0 0, Kallan Herman 0-0 0-0 0, Ace Zorr 3-7 1-2 7, Drew Cole 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23-53 14-18 67.
MOUNT MARTY (3-7)
Elijah Pappas 7-11 2-2 17, Tyrell Harper 1-10 2-2 4, Kade Stearns 2-5 0-0 5, Matthew Becker 4-10 0-0 9, Lincoln Jordre 5-10 0-0 10, Josh Arlt 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Coleman 5-8 0-0 10, Chase Altenburg 0-0 0-0 0, Gio Diaz 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24-56 4-4 55.
At the half: MMU 30-27. Three-Pointers: DWU 7-22 (Wittler 3-6, Larson 3-8, Oppold 1-4, Schultz 0-1, Schuch 0-2, Zorr 0-1), MMU 3-16 (Pappas 1-3, Stearns 1-3, Becker 1-2, Harper 0-4, Coleman 0-2, Diaz 0-2). Rebounds: MMU 30 (Harper 9), DWU 25 (Schuch 10). Personal Fouls: MMU 17, DWU 11. Fouled Out: None. Assists: DWU 12 (Oppold 4, Schuch 4), MMU 10 (Pappas 4, Harper 4). Turnovers: MMU 11, DWU 4. Blocked Shots: DWU 5 (Larson 4), MMU 1 (Jordre). Steals: DWU 4, MMU 3. Attendance: 247