MITCHELL, S.D. – Hot shooting led the No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team past Northwestern College, 110-99 in the first round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament Wednesday night at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers (22-8, 13-7 GPAC) wasted no time getting things started offensively as Collin Kramer (Volga, S.D.) drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to take an early lead. After a 6-0 run from the Red Raiders (17-13, 11-9 GPAC), Samuel McCloud (Rapid City, S.D.) put an end to the run with a 3-point basket to give DWU an 8-6 lead.
Both teams began to trade 3-point baskets as Aaron Ahmadu (Houston, Texas) hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Tigers. Moments later, Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.) received a long pass and finished with a slam dunk to bring the Corn Palace faithful to their feet.
Later in the first half, DWU went on a 13-5 run as Mason Larson (Langford, S.D.) connected on consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 36-20.
After Northwestern made a quick run, it was Larson again who delivered three-straight scoring possessions to put the Tiger back in front 43-29.
DWU continued the offensive pressure down the stretch in the first half, as Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) tallied five points in the last 1:30 of the first half to give the Tigers a 51-36 lead at halftime.
DWU began the second half hot once again as the Tigers converted on three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the half to push the lead to 63-47.
The Red Raiders hung around as they went on a quick 7-0 run to force a DWU timeout. After the timeout, Tristian Teichmeier (Sioux Falls, S.D.) made his presence known underneath the basket scoring four points in 30 seconds to give the Tigers a 71-56 lead.
After Northwestern went on a 10-0 run to cut the Tiger lead to two points, Ahmadu was left all alone on the wing for a 3-point basket. Moments later, Harden netted a 3-pointer to push the lead back up to eight points.
Both teams would trade baskets down the stretch in the game, but Dakota Wesleyan was able to make free throws and hold Northwestern to only three points in the final 1:30 to secure the home victory.
The Tigers were led by Ahmadu who notched a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds shooting 6-of-8 from the 3-point line. Hoglund tallied 22 points, while Kramer finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Harden collected 17 points and six assists, while Larson notched 16 points and was 4-of-5 from the 3-point line.
DWU will move on to the semifinals of the GPAC tournament to face No. 2 Morningside College at 3 p.m. Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.