BELLEVUE, Neb. – In the opening game of the 2018-19 season, the No. 17 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team defeated No. 14 Bellevue University, 86-77 thanks to a strong second half Monday in Bellevue, Neb.
The Bruins (0-3) jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead, forcing an early DWU timeout. Bellevue added three points to take an 11-2 lead after five minutes of play.
Freshman Koln Oppold (Sioux Falls, S.D.) sparked the Tiger (1-0) offense with seven-straight points to bring DWU within a point.
Midway through the first half, Bellevue nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 20-14 lead. Following a pair of Nate Davis (Watertown, S.D.) free throws, Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.) drove to the basket and made a layup as he was fouled. Hoglund sunk the ensuing free throw to make it a 20-19 game with 6:06 left in the first half.
Moments later, Samuel McCloud (Rapid City, S.D.) gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with a deep 3-pointer. Neither team led by more than two points for the rest of the first half as the score remained tied at 35 heading into halftime.
Both offenses struggled out of the gates as a McCloud layup was the first points of the second half, 1:44 into the stanza. Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) helped extend the DWU lead as he scored back-to-back 3-pointers later in the half.
With 8:51 left to play, the Tigers went on a 5-0 spurt to take their biggest lead of the game at 62-54. DWU never let the Bruins get back into the game as the Tigers won their opening game of the season.
Hoglund tallied 19 points and five rebounds, while Harden notched 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. Aaron Ahmadu (Houston, Texas) chipped in 14 points, five assists and five rebounds, as McCloud scored 13 points and Oppold chipped in 12 points.
The Tigers shot 43.9 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bruins 45-38. DWU finished with 44 points in the paint and scored 19 points off turnovers.
DWU takes on NCAA Division I opponent University of South Dakota in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Vermillion, S.D.