Ian McClanahan, Sports Information Director
MITCHELL, S.D. – Following a 9-0 run to end the first half, the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team never looked back as they downed Doane University, 93-88, in a Great Plains Athletic Conference clash Sunday at the Corn Palace.
The GPAC first place Tigers jumped out to the initial lead as Koln Oppold (Sioux Falls, S.D.) made a 3-pointer and Jeffrey Schuch (Dell Rapids, S.D.) made a layup. But the Tigers of Doane (4-7, 1-5 GPAC) came back and took an 11-7 lead.
Sawyer Schultz (Emery, S.D.) ended the run with a 3-pointer, followed by a Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) free throw to pull within two points.
Midway through the half Doane built a nine-point advantage. On the ensuing possession, Harden lobbed the ball to Ace Zorr (Harrisburg, S.D.) for the thunderous alley-oop. Moments later, Drew Cole (Brookings, S.D.) nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Tigers (7-1, 4-0 GPAC) within single digits.
Doane held DWU at a distance after making a pair of 3-pointers to push its lead up to 13 points. Harden kickstarted the DWU offense with a shot from beyond the arc. Zorr tallied a tip-in, while Harden drained another 3-pointer to bring DWU within eight points.
Thanks to Harden’s first 3-pointer, the Tigers finished the first half on a 16-5 run over the final four minutes to take a 41-40 lead at intermission.
DWU continued its hot shooting in the second half as Mason Larson (Langford, S.D.) and Schultz made consecutive 3-pointers. Larson and Schuch made back-to-back shots, but Doane matched DWU’s hot shooting as they trailed by just two points.
After five minutes of play in the second half, Doane knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game. However, Harden and Schultz drained 3-pointers to push the lead to seven points. After the run by DWU, Doane went on an 8-2 run to chip into the Tiger lead.
Despite the hot shooting of Doane, DWU put together another run, this time an 11-4 spurt to take an eight-point advantage. DWU could not put the game away as Doane made it a one possession game with less than a minute to play.
On one of its final possessions, Doane missed a 3-point attempt to tie the game, as Oppold came down with one of his 12 rebounds on the night. He converted both of his following free throws to put the game out of reach.
Harden finished with 26 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown, as Oppold recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. DWU outscored Doane 36-24 in the paint and shot 50% from the field.
DWU hosts (RV) Northwestern College in a GPAC tilt at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Corn Palace.