SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Sure, there were some positives to take out of the loss, but the Mount Marty men’s basketball team walked off the court at Allee Gym feeling like it missed an opportunity.

The Lancers had their chance to beat a top-10 team.

Ultimately, though, they couldn’t make the plays down the stretch and No. 7-ranked Morningside surged to a 68-58 victory in GPAC action Saturday night in Sioux City, Iowa.

For Mount Marty (2-4, 0-2), it was a ‘what could have been.’

‘We obviously competed pretty well for the most part, but we were confident,” head coach Todd Lorensen said.

“We fully expected to win, so it’s disappointing in that way.”

A week after playing from behind nearly the entire way in a loss to Briar Cliff, the Lancers used a strong surge in the second half to take a lead but then missed out on some chances late.

“I thought we made a huge improvement from last week,” said senior Elijah Pappas, who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. “It was a good week off and we were ready for this one.”

After a back-and-forth first half, Morningside came out of the gate hot after halftime to build a 43-32 lead with 16 minutes remaining.

Mount Marty, though, responded with a 19-4 surge — with 10 points from Pappas — to pull in front 51-47.

“We defended at a high level and made a point to look for better shots,” Lorensen said.

“The disappointing part is that if we do that for the last 6-7 minutes, it might have been a different game.”

Morningside briefly regained a lead, but the Lancers got back-to-back three-pointers from junior Jonah Larson and sophomore Luke Ronsiek to lead 57-52.

That’s when the tide shifted against Mount Marty.

“When we had a 57-52 lead, I thought we had two or three possessions where we made some poor decisions,” Lorensen said.

“We had some shots we normally wouldn’t want to take not go in, and that helped them regain the lead.”

Out of a timeout with 1:36 remaining and Morningside up 63-58, the Lancers had a three-point shot blocked and the Mustangs eventually scored. Mount Marty then committed a turnover on back-to-back trips, and Morningside closed things out with three free throws.

Neither team reached 40 percent shooting for the game and both made fewer than 30 percent from deep, but Morningside out-rebounded MMU 50-26 (including 17-2 on the offensive glass).

“You have to be tough and physical against good teams like this, but I feel like we got a lot out of our guys,” Pappas said.

That was the gameplan against Morningside, he added: To try to prevent the inside/outside looks with the Mustangs’ size and length — primarily with Trey Brown (16 points, 12 rebounds).

Junior Chad Moran added 15 points and five rebounds for the Lancers, while senior Jailen Billings scored 10 points.

The key for Mount Marty is to use whatever it can from the loss for its next game: At home Tuesday against Midland.

“We have to note everything they did and use it for the next time,” Pappas said.

“It’s a long season, and we have to take it day by day and keep working.”

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Elijah Pappas 7-18 1-1 17; Luke Ronsiek 2-5 0-0 6; Chad Moran 5-9 4-6 15; Kade Stearns 0-5 3-3 3; Keegan Savary 0-0 0-0 0; Jailen Billings 4-10 0-0 10; Marcus Edwards 0-1 0-0 0; Lincoln Jordre 1-1 0-0 2; Jonah Larson 2-5 0-0 5. TOTALS 21-54 8-10 58.


Zach Imig 3-7 2-3 8; Will Pottebaum 3-7 4-5 11; Conner Hill 2-4 0-0 5; Collin Hill 3-10 0-0 7; Trey Brown 5-14 6-6 16; Trey Powers 2-8 0-0 5; Tyler Vavrina 0-2 0-0 0; Joey Skoff 0-0 0-0 0; Mick Williams 0-0 0-0 0; Ely Doble 3-5 0-0 7; Jacob Fierst 4-7 1-2 9. TOTALS 25-64 13-16 68.

Half — MORN 34-30. Three-Pointers — MMU 8-30 (Ronsiek 2-4, Billings 2-7, Pappas 2-9, Moran 1-1, Larson 1-4, Edwards 0-1, Stearns 0-4), MORN 5-19 (Conner Hill 1-2, Collin Hill 1-2, Doble 1-2, Pottebaum 1-3, Powers 1-4, Fierst 0-1, Vavrina 0-2, Imig 0-3). Total Rebounds — MORN 50 (Brown 12), MMU 26 (Pappas 5, Moran 5). Assists — MMU 9 (Pappas 5), MORN 8 (Imig 4). Turnovers — MMU 14, MORN 14. Personal Fouls — MMU 14, MORN 11. Fouled Out — None.

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