CRETE – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team finished on a 14-3 run during the final five minutes of action to secure an 80-73 road victory over conference foe Doane University on Saturday at the Haddix Center in Crete, Neb. The road win not only gave Dakota Wesleyan the season sweep of Doane, but also extended its winning streak to 12 games.
A 3-pointer by Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) and a bucket in the paint by Koln Oppold (Sioux Falls, S.D.) energized the Tigers (12-1, 11-0 GPAC) to a 9-6 vantage early in the first half. The lead dwindled to 14-13 later in the half despite another DWU 3-point basket, this time by Sawyer Schultz (Emery, S.D.).
Trailing by four at the 9:38 mark of the opening half, Ace Zorr (Harrisburg, S.D.) finished in the paint narrowing the Doane advantage to 18-16. Though, the Tigers (5-11, 2-9 GPAC) of Doane extended their advantage to 26-18 minutes later forcing a timeout by the Blue and Gray.
DWU responded out of the break with an 18-9 run including 10-straight points by Oppold. Schultz also chipped in a pair of jumpers to spark the run and Dakota Wesleyan controlled a one-point lead, 36-35 at halftime.
For a majority of the second half both teams exchanged the lead as the Tigers relied on their inside presence to score. Jeffrey Schuch (Dell Rapids, S.D.) and Mason Larson (Langford, S.D.) converted jumpers bringing the score to 40-39 at the 18:42 mark.
The lead continued to flip until a layup near the basket by Zorr pushed the Dakota Wesleyan advantage to 59-56 with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Despite a four-point margin at the 4:42 mark, DWU rattled off a 14-3 run down the stretch to close out the game.
A pair of free throws by both Harden and Schultz under a minute to play denied any comeback by Doane. Dakota Wesleyan finished 17 of 21 from the free-throw line helping to secure the 80-73 victory.
Oppold paved the way leading DWU with a season-high 21 points as five Tigers reached double figures. Recording his fifth double-double of the season, Oppold also notched 13 rebounds and five assists. Harden and Zorr also added 14 points as DWU scored 42 points in the paint and collected 43 rebounds.
The Tigers return home for the first time in 2021 as they battle Concordia University at 8 p.m. on Wednesday from the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.