FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team met its match on Wednesday when the Warriors squared off with Doane University. It took more than 40 minutes, but the Warriors shot their way to an important conference victory over the Tigers.
The Warriors (9-11, 4-7 GPAC) completed the regular season sweep of the Tigers (6-13, 3-8 GPAC) with a 93-91 win in overtime to snap a two-game conference losing streak.
“It was good to get on the other end of this after being on the other side of some of these one possession games,” head coach Oliver Drake stated after the game. “We made the turn at 3-7 in the league and lost four of those seven games by one possession. So it was good to find a way to be on the winning side for a change.”
Midland got monster performances from three key players in Bowen Sandquist, Reggie Gradwell, and Bryce Parsons. Sandquist led all scorers with a career-high 29 points on an 8-15 shooting performance that included him shooting 7-11 from three-point range. It’s the freshman’s fourth game scoring 20 or more points this season and the first time he’s done it since scoring 26 on December 18.
Gradwell found his outside stroke in this game as well. The senior finished with a career high 25 points on 8-11 shooting from the field and 6-9 shooting from behind the arc.
Parsons did it all yet again for Midland as the junior utility man fell just one assist shy of registering a triple-double. Number zero finished with 22 points on 9-16 shooting while adding 13 rebounds, nine assists, and a steal to his stat line.
The trio of Sandquist, Gradwell, and Parsons combined to score 76 points, worth 81.7 percent of Midland’s total offense in the win.
Without big man Trace Tupper, who was sidelined with a lower leg injury, Nick Kornieck led the Tigers with 27 points on 10-14 shooting from the field and 6-8 from three-point range. The forward also contributed six rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and one steal.
Guard Koh Flippin also had a stellar performance as he netted a career-high 25 points on 10-19 shooting for the Tigers. Flippin also recorded four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
The first half of play saw four lead changes as the two teams battled back and forth. Sandquist gave Midland an early eight-point advantage after going on an individual 9-0 run, but the Tigers came right back and led by as many as four in the first half.
Doane began the game in a zone, but moved into a man-to-man defense as Sandquist and Warriors proved they could knock down open shots. The Tigers mixed defensive schemes through most of the game.
Off of a Laurence Merritt miss, Parsons collected an offensive rebound and beat the halftime buzzer with a layup to tie the game at 39-39 heading into the break.
The second half was all about momentum as the Tigers came out of the locker room and sprinted out to a seven-point lead in the first five minutes. Midland responded with a 19-3 run and regained a 63-54 lead.
Again, Doane chipped away and retook the lead with just under five minutes to play. The Tigers went back to a 3-2 zone defense and had the Warriors searching for answers. Midland went without a field goal in a five minute span leading into the final two minutes of regulation.
With Doane up two, Parsons ended the drought with a layup to cut the lead to 76-74. Two possessions later, Sandquist knocked down a three-pointer and collected a foul. After finishing the four-point play, Midland led by two with 1:22 on the clock.
In the final 20 seconds, Luke Cadzow sank two free throws to give Midland a three-point lead, but Anthony Laravie nailed a three-pointer with four seconds left to tie the game. Parsons nearly got a half-court heave to fall as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
Neither team led by more than three points in the five minutes of extra time. Doane held a two-point lead with two and half minutes left when Cadzow missed a three-pointer from the corner. Dillon Faubel collected an offensive rebound, and Parsons found Cadzow again. This time, the senior sank the corner three and Midland went back ahead, 89-88.
“We talk about playing with mental toughness and Luke could’ve been shy but he stepped up and made a big shot,” Coach Drake commented about Cadzow’s lone field goal of the game. “He is one of our best shooters on the team. He kept his hands and feet ready and knocked that thing down when we needed it most. We’ve been talking to our seniors about making ‘senior plays’ and that was definitely one.”
In the final 10 seconds, Koh drove to the hoop and scored to tie the game at 91-91. At the other end, Parsons drew contact and went to the line for two shots with just 1.8 seconds remaining. Parsons made the first attempt, and after a timeout, attempted to miss the second shot. The ball hit the front of the rim and bounced up into the net.
Doane’s final attempt at a full-court pass was knocked away and the Warriors escaped the barn-burner with a 93-91 victory.
The Warriors used an impressive 16-32 (50 percent) performance from three-point range to move ahead of Doane for eighth place in the GPAC regular season standings. As of now, the Warriors would be the final team to qualify for the GPAC tournament in February.
Midland has a tough test ahead as the Warriors travel to play the No. 15 Dakota Wesleyan Tigers (13-5, 7-4 GPAC) on Saturday, January 13. In the last meeting, Midland nearly pulled the upset as the then-No. 17 Tigers escaped Fremont with a 95-92 overtime victory. Tipoff for the rematch in Mitchell, South Dakota is set for 4:00 p.m.