FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University men’s basketball brought the fight to the NAIA’s No. 17-ranked team, but after 40 minutes of regulation and a 5 minute of overtime, it just wasn’t enough to pull off the upset. The Warriors (2-3, 1-1 GPAC) pushed Dakota Wesleyan (5-0, 2-0 GPAC) to overtime before coming just three points short of a big conference win in the early going of the 2018-19 season.
“We came up just a little short tonight,” head coach Oliver Drake said afterwards. “We made some bad mistakes down the stretch in regulation. It’s something that we’ll work on with our guys in the gym. I was pleased with our effort in the second half and felt we controlled the game for nearly 35 minutes. We’ve got to learn to close out teams down the stretch.”
The Warriors held two separate seven-point leads in the first half but could hold off the Tigers the whole game. Early in the second half, the Warriors led by as many as nine, but after a rally from Dakota Wesleyan, neither team led by more than five for the final 18 minutes of regulation or overtime.
Coach Drake used a different starting lineup for Saturday’s game, then shortened the bench in the second half, sticking with a group that seemed to be clicking. Drake hung with starters Bowen Sandquist, Bryce Parsons, and Sam Brown, along with Tyler Craven and Reggie Gradwell for the majority of the second half and overtime.
With just over a minute to play in regulation, a layup from Brown had the Warriors up five. Shortly after, Brown’s fifth personal foul forced him out of the game as Isaiah Workman replaced him on the court.
Aaron Ahmadu and Ty Hoglund each made two free throws in the final minute for Dakota Wesleyan, bringing the Tigers to within one with 20 seconds to play. The Warriors inbounded, and after some contact in traffic, Sandquist was called for a travel after dropping to a knee.
On the Tiger’s ensuring possession, Samuel McCloud knocked down his only three-pointer of the game (1-7), putting Dakota Wesleyan ahead 82-80 with 13 seconds left. After a timeout, Parsons drove the length of the court for Midland, drawing a double team on the baseline. Parsons found Workman under the hoop for the game-tying layup in in the final seconds of regulation, forcing overtime.
In the five minute overtime period, there were eight lead changes and three ties. The final change came after Parsons’ game-tying jumper with a minute to play. Two possessions later, Collin Kramer got the layup and the foul, Parsons’ fifth foul, to give Dakota Wesleyan a 95-92 lead with just seven seconds left.
On the Warriors’ final play, Craven’s three-pointer rattled off the rim, ending the upset bit after one of the more intense games the Warriors have played so far.
Midland was led in points by Sandquist, who had a quiet 23 points to lead the Warriors. Sandquist’s points were spread throughout the whole game as he finished 8-15 shooting, 7-12 from three-point range. Parsons (18 points) and Malik Martin (15 points) also finished in double figures for the Warriors.
On the other side, the Tigers rode the trio of Nick Harden (24 points), Ahmadu (23 points), and Hoglund (20 points) to the win.
The close loss is a tough one to take, but it is a sign of good things to come for the Warriors, proving to themselves and opponents that they can keep pace with some of the best teams in the country.
Midland will get their next opportunity as they take the court next Wednesday, November 14, against the (RV) Doane Tigers (1-4, 0-2 GPAC). Tipoff in Crete, Nebraska is set for 8:00 p.m.
FREMONT, Neb. –Midland University women’s basketball welcomed another highly-ranked team into Wikert Event Center on Saturday, but weren’t able to keep pace like they did on Tuesday. The Warriors (3-2, 0-2 GPAC) fell to the No. 2-ranked and defending national champion Dakota Wesleyan University (5-0, 2-0 GPAC) by a score of 88-59. It was the Warriors second consecutive game against the top-two ranked GPAC schools.
Dakota Wesleyan boasts one of the deeper lineups in the GPAC this season, returning a good number of players who took part in the Tigers’ title run a season ago. Keeping pace with this team is going to be tough for opponents to do in 2018-19, and the Warriors got their first attempt of the season on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers shot 50 percent from three-point range (12-24) on their way to the victory. Nearly half of their points came from bench players (41 points), including 18 from freshman Sydney Halling. Halling was 7-10 from the field and connected on all four of her three-point attempts while also pulling down seven rebounds.
Eleven different Tigers scored in the game, led by Kynedi Cheeseman with 24 points. The junior was 8-13 from the field, 3-5 from deep, and added four rebounds and two assists to her final line.
Despite the Warriors’ best effort on defense, the Tigers’ offense was too much, a theme that will likely continue for a talented Dakota Wesleyan team. The Warriors did manage to force 12 turnovers from the Tigers, eight of which were steals.
The Warriors were led on offense by sophomore Makenna Sullivan and senior Samm Ashida, who each pitched in eight points, Ashida’s coming from the bench. Each player also finished 3-5 shooting from the field with an assist.
Freshman Lexis Haase had a big impact off the bench for the Warriors as she did a little bit of everything to try to keep Midland in the game. Haase finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and three steals. The West Point, Nebraska product has been one of the more impactful newcomers to coach Shawn Gilbert‘s team, along with Fremont’s Sam Shepard, who also had seven points on Saturday.
The Warriors continue their grueling schedule with three-straight road games coming up next. The stretch starts on November 14, when the Warriors travel to Crete, Nebraska to take on the Doane Tigers (2-3, 0-2 GPAC). Wednesday’s tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m.