Warriors Fall to No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan on the Road

MITCHELL, S.D. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team continued Great Plains Athletic Conference play on Saturday evening as they traveled to take on No. 7-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University. The Warriors battled hard throughout against the top-ten team before ultimately falling 85-65 to the Tigers at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

After playing even through the first nine minutes of the first half, the Tigers would go on a 10-0 run put them ahead 27-17. It was a four-minute stretch that saw the Warriors miss a few open looks while the home team hit four straight buckets. They would ride that lead into halftime where they led 42-33.

The second half saw the Warriors work their way back within striking distance a few times. They got as close as five a couple of times early before another big run by Dakota Wesleyan extended a nine point lead to 21 with 4:29 to go.

“We thought we competed hard for 32 of the 40 minutes tonight,” said head coach Oliver Drake. “We have to clean up some stuff that’s under our control in order to give ourselves the opportunity to compete against a top-ten nationally ranked opponent on the road.”

As a team the Warriors shot 23 of 59 from the field (39%) and were 9 of 24 (37.5%) from behind the arc. The Tigers were 29 of 66 (43.9%) and connected on 13 of 36 from three-point range (36.1%). On the board Dakota Wesleyan had a slight rebounding edge, 35-30. The biggest gap in team stats were in second-chance points. DWU had 22 points off of 12 Midland turnovers while the Warriors had just 9 points off of 9 turnovers by the Tigers.

Individually the Warriors were led by Laurence Merritt with 22 points in 40 minutes of action. The junior guard also added four rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Ryan Williams and Hunter Mengel scored 13 and 12 points respectively to join Merritt in double-figures. Williams was the high rebounder for Midland with eight.

“We are making progress even though were aren’t seeing the results yet,” Coach Drake added. “We all just have to stay the course and keep working to get better. We have more stiff competition coming up next weekend against a pair of NCAA DII programs.”

Midland (2-4, 0-2 GPAC) will travel to Colorado for a pair of exhibition games against Western Colorado and Colorado Mesa on November 22-23. Both games will be played in Gunnison with tip times set for 5:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time. The Warriors will return to GPAC play on November 26 when they travel to Hastings to take on the Broncos.