FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team welcomed another top-tier conference opponent into Wikert Event Center on Wednesday in No. 6 Briar Cliff University, but couldn’t quite keep pace for the full 40 minutes.
The Warriors (8-10, 3-6 GPAC) faltered down the stretch and fell to the Chargers (13-3, 7-2 GPAC) by a final score of 111-90.
It was a high-scoring affair from the beginning as the Warriors and Chargers combined for 108 first-half points as Midland held a 55-53 lead at the break. The Warriors led for basically the entire first half, as Briar Cliff’s only lead was an early 2-0 advantage.
The first half was a battle of heavyweights as Bryce Parsons, Midland’s most versatile player, went head-to-head with Briar Cliff’s Jay Wolfe. Parsons managed to get to the hoop with ease seemingly the entire first half, while Wolfe did the same thing at the other end. At halftime, Wolfe already had 24 points while Parsons had 19.
Parsons had some help from his teammates in the first half as well, getting big three-pointers from Reggie Gradwell, Bowen Sandquist, and Luke Cadzow throughout the half that helped the Warriors hold on to the lead at halftime.
Wolfe connected on a running jumper as time expired in the first half, and if not for a toe on the line, would have counted as a three-point play.
After an impressive first half of play by the Warriors, offense in the second half didn’t come as easily. The Warriors maintained a lead through the first couple of minutes, but couldn’t keep the Chargers’ offense off the board.
Briar Cliff used a big 13-0 run to take a sudden and commanding 73-65 lead over the Warriors with just under 14 minutes to play.
After the run, the game slowly began to slip away from the Warriors as the Briar Cliff lead gradually grew to as high as 23 points late in the game. Briar Cliff held sizeable double-digit leads for the final 10 minutes to play to run away with the 111-90 win.
Wolfe finished with 38 points on a remarkable 15-17 shooting from the field. The Chargers’ leader also had six rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Ethan Freidel and Jackson Lamb each had stellar games for Briar Cliff as well, finishing with 32 and 24 points, respectively.
The Chargers shot an astounding 63.5 percent from the field as a team and were a perfect 18-18 from the free throw line.
Parsons finished with another double-double for the Warriors with a final tally of 27 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Malik Martin also had a quiet 14 points for the Warriors while Gradwell and Sandquist each made four three-pointers and finished with 12 points apiece.
The Warriors battled hard and played well for much of the game, but the No. 6 Chargers were just too much to handle down the stretch. Still, it’s a sign that teams always need to bring their best when they face off with the Midland Warriors. Coach Drake and company are never an easy team to get past.
Midland continues conference play with a trip to Jamestown, North Dakota to play (RV) University of Jamestown (16-3, 6-3 GPAC) on Saturday, January 5. The Warriors are 0-4 all-time versus the Jimmies and Saturday’s game will be the first time the teams meet as conference opponents. Tipoff this Saturday is set for 4:00 p.m. inside Newman Arena.