CRETE, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team took care of business, and the ball, on Wednesday night to win its second straight game and earn a regular-season sweep of its in-state rival.
The Warriors (9-15, 5-12 GPAC) committed just three turnovers and shot their way to an 83-73 win on the road over the Doane Tigers (7-20, 2-15 GPAC). The win is the second-straight for the Warriors since ending a six-game slide.
“Our guys are battling hard and continuing to grow together,” said Midland head coach Oliver Drake. “We had a total team effort once again to earn this road win.”
Midland’s win did not come about because of any obscure stat or complicated game plan. The Warriors shot the ball well on Wednesday, and didn’t turn the ball over. It’s hard to find a flaw when a team does those two things successfully.
The Warriors shot 48.4 percent (30-for-62) from the field and 44.1 percent (15-for-34) from three-point range. In the first half alone, Midland was 10-for-19 from three. Most impressively, the Warriors committed a season-low three turnovers in the game, one of which game on a shot clock violation in the final seconds as the Warriors ran the clock down.
In an evenly matched first half, the lead changed six times as neither team could go on a long run. Midland finally managed to gain momentum late in the half as the Warriors connected on six of their final seven field goal attempts and ended the half on a 14-2 run to take a 14-point lead into halftime.
Midland kept the energy going and extended the lead to as high as 18 points in the second half, but the Tigers never went away and twice cut their deficit to single digits during that time. During a long dry spell for the Warriors, the Tigers went on a 10-1 run and cut the lead to just eight points.
With the momentum on their side, the Tigers appeared to be on the comeback trail, but a three-pointer from sophomore Bowen Sandquist got the lead back to double figures and re-ignited the Warrior offense as they held off the charge and held on for the win.
Sandquist led all scorers with 20 points on 7-for-17 (5-for-12 3FG) from the field while adding five rebounds. He got plenty of help from freshman Arturo Montes, who notched a career-high 18 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three-point range.
The freshman had only scored in double figures once in his career entering the game, but has been a key contributor as of late, averaging 11.7 points in the last three games.
“Arturo was huge off the bench tonight and he really sparked us,” Drake said.
Junior guard Laurence Merritt also scored in double figures for the fourth straight game as he totaled 14 points thanks to three made three-pointers.
The success was truly a team effort as everyone in blue and orange did their part on Wednesday. Freshman Samuel Mailloux registered an astonishing seven blocks to tie Brian Rundell (1999-2000) for the most in a game in program history. Freshman Jake Rueschhoff led the team with five assists while committing zero turnovers, and sophomore Emanuel Bryson led the team with six rebounds.
With the No. 8 seed in the upcoming GPAC Tournament still within reach, the Warriors have to take care of business the rest of the way if they want to extend their season. The next game is the final of four straight road games as they travel to Orange City, Iowa to face the Northwestern College Red Raiders on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 4:00 p.m.
Then-No. 19 Northwestern defeated Midland 99-86 in the season’s first meeting back on Dec. 14.