MITCHELL, S. D. — A four-minute scoreless drought in the first half hampered Midland University’s hopes of upsetting seventh-ranked Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday in men’s basketball.
The Tigers outscored MU 13-0 during that stretch to pick up an 85-65 Great Plains Athletic Conference victory at the Corn Palace.
“We thought we competed hard for 32 of the 40 minutes tonight,” Midland coach Oliver Drake said. “We have to clean up some stuff that we can control in order to give ourselves the opportunity to compete against a top-10 nationally-ranked opponent on the road.”
Ty Hoglund led a balanced attack for the Tigers with 23 points. Tyson Smiley (17 points), Nick Harden (15), Collin Kramer (12) and Sam McCloud (12) also finished in double figures.
Freshman Kylan Smallwood’s basket gave MU a 17-14 lead with 11:25 left in the first half. Harden, a former MU player, connected on a traditional three-point play to tie it and Hoglund’s basket put the Tigers ahead for good.
The Warriors didn’t score again until Emanuel Bryson’s layup with 7:15 left in the half. By that time, DWU had opened a 27-19 advantage. They would lead 42-33 at halftime.
Laurence Merritt, who led the Warriors with 22 points, hit one of his six 3-point baskets with 8:31 remaining in the game that cut the deficit to 66-57. The Tigers, though, responded with a 12-0 run to put the game away.
Fremont native Ryan Williams added 13 points and eight rebounds for MU. Hunter Mengel added 12 points.
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DWU outshot MU 43.9 percent (29 of 66) to 39 percent (23 of 59). DWU hit 13 3s compared to nine for MU. The Tigers also outrebounded the Warriors 35-30 and had nine turnovers compared to 12 for Midland.
“We are making progress even though we aren’t seeing the results yet,” Drake said. “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 Division II programs.”
Midland (2-4, 0-2 GPAC) will travel to Colorado for a pair of exhibition games against Western Colorado and Colorado Mesa on Nov. 22 and 23. Both games will be played in Gunnison.
The Warriors will return to league play at 8 p.m. Nov. 26 in Hastings.
MIDLAND (65) — Laurence Merritt 22, Ryan Williams 13, Hunter Mengel 12, Bowen Sandquist 8, Kylan Smallwood 4, Emmanuel Bryson 4, Jake Rueschhoff 2.
DAKOTA WESLEYAN (85) — Ty Hoglund 23, Tyson Smiley 17, Nick Harden 15, Collin Kramer 12, Samuel McCloud 12, K. Oppold 4, Tristan Teichmeier 2.