SIOUX CITY, Iowa – After leading at halftime 46-40, the No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team fell to No. 2 Morningside College, 88-81 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals on Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.
Both teams struggled in the first two minutes of the game offensively as the Mustangs (27-2, 18-2 GPAC) were able to score first. The Tigers (22-9, 13-7 GPAC) answered quick with a Nick Harden (Chicago, Ill.) layup to tie the score at two.
After both teams traded baskets throughout the first half, DWU took the lead on a Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.) layup to make the score 13-11.
Morningside would continue to keep the game close, but the Tigers would grab control of the game with a 3-pointer from Aaron Ahmadu (Houston, Texas) forcing a Mustang timeout.
After Morningside connected on a 3-pointer after the timeout, Tristian Teichmeier (Sioux Falls, S.D.) grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on the putback to give DWU the momentum.
The Tigers had the ball with under 30 seconds in the first half leading by six points, as Harden was unable to get the shot to go at the buzzer. DWU took a 46-40 lead into halftime.
Both teams traded 3-point baskets to open the second half as Samuel McCloud (Rapid City, S.D.) connected on a deep 3-pointer. The Mustangs answered with consecutive layups to cut the Tiger lead to 49-47, forcing a DWU timeout.
Morningside continued its' offensive success, starting the second half on 16-3 run, forcing another DWU timeout.
Later in the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-2 run highlighted by McCloud 3-pointer and a Hoglund layup to cut the Mustang lead to 63-62.
Both teams began to trade baskets down the stretch as Morningside never led more than five points. But with under a minute to play, the Mustangs hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Tigers final effort wasn't enough.
Hoglund led DWU with 26 points on 10-of-22 shooting from the field. Harden tallied 14 points and five assists, while Ahmadu scored 13 points. McCloud notched 12 points and six rebounds and Teichmeier scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench for the Tigers. DWU shot 45.7 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range. The Tigers forced nine turnovers and scored eight points off turnovers.
The Tigers await the pairings of the NAIA Men's National Basketball Tournament as they will be announced Wednesday. The NAIA National Tournament begins on March 6 in Sioux Falls, S.D.