FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University came back from being down 18 points in the second half to defeat No. 10-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University 77-75 on Tuesday night. The Warriors improve to 5-2 (1-1 GPAC) on the season while the Tigers fall to 5-4 (1-2 GPAC).
Dakota Wesleyan looked like they would run away with the game as they led Midland by 12 at halftime and then extended their lead to 54-36 with 15:03 to go in the game.
The Warriors would regroup and respond with a 26-8 run over the next 7:14 to tie the game at 62 apiece.
“Our guys showed a level or grit and resilience in the second half that allowed us to come back,” coach Oliver Drake said after the win. “We didn’t look good early on. We called a timeout and told our guys that if they believed in themselves we could come back and win.”
During that timeout Midland made a switch in their defensive strategy that allowed the Warriors to erase the large deficit and come back against the Tigers. They applied full-court pressure, which slowed the DWU attack. They also switched into a half-court zone which stifled the Tigers. DWU scored just 17 points over the last 15 minutes after the defensive switch.
Offensively, the Warriors became more aggressive and started attacking the rim. That resulted in easy shots or trips to the free-throw line, sometimes both. They would get 16 points in the paint and hit 8 of 9 free-throws on their way to the comeback win.
Leading that charge was Chase Parsons as he scored all 18 of his points in the second half.
With the Warriors trailing by four points with under a minute to go, Parsons tracked down an offensive rebound on a missed three-point attempt. He then hit a three of his own with 40 second remaining to pull Midland within one.
On the defensive end, Ryan Williams forced a turnover to give Midland the ball with just over 12 seconds to go. Parsons would bring the ball up across the midline and then pulled up from 25-foot out to put the Warriors up two points with 3.6 remaining.
With a pair of timeouts remaining DWU would use their first to plan their attack. They elected to fire a pass to midcourt and then took their final timeout with 2.9 on the clock.
After the timeout the inbound pass was deflected the MU defense but it went right to a cutting Tiger. That play too one dribble toward the basket and let go a last second attempt to tie. It would miss it’s target as the Warriors held on the for the upset win.
“This was a big win for us,” Coach Drake added. “Dakota Wesleyan is a good team. This is a game that will look really good on our resume as the season progresses. I thought all of our guys on the court down the stretch did a great job. Chase played exceptionally well in the second half to lead our team.”
Midland will host the 11th Annual Draemel Classic this upcoming weekend. They’ll take on Haskell Indian Nations University (1-10) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and then No. 4 Bellevue (4-3) on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Briar Cliff University will also be competing in the classic named in honor of former Midland coach My Draemel and his family.