CRETE, Neb. – Midland University men’s basketball battled all the way back to pull off an impressive come-from-behind win Wednesday night on the road. The Warriors (3-3, 2-1 GPAC) dominated the final 10 minutes of the game against the (RV) Doane Tigers (1-5, 0-3 GPAC), finishing the game on a 25-10 run to secure a 65-58 victory.
The Warriors didn’t take a lead until late in the second half on a Malik Martin layup with under four minutes to play. Once Martin put Midland up 56-55, the Warriors never trailed again and outscored Doane 9-3 in the final four minutes.
After Doane began the game on an 8-0 run, the Tigers controlled the entire first half, leading Midland by as many as 12 during the first 20 minutes of play. The Warriors managed to inch back to as close as three points, but trailed by eight at the break.
Out of halftime, Midland started on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just one, but Doane came back with a run of their own, extending the lead back to as many as 10 with 11 minutes to play.
The Warriors were down seemingly the entire game, but they were never out. The final 10 minutes belonged to Midland as six different scorers contributed to the final 25-10 run that propelled the Warriors to an improbable victory.
Senior Reggie Gradwell paced the Warriors with 18 points on the night, 14 of which came in the second half. The senior forward was 5-8 from three-point range and also pitched in two rebounds, two steals, and an assist.
“We started to play our way after half,” head coach Oliver Drake said. “We made adjustments offensively that force them to come out and guard us. Defensively our rotations were better in the second half, especially late.”
Gradwell’s final three-pointer of the game was the dagger. With just 19 seconds left, Gradwell’s three-pointer put Midland up 63-58, extending the lead to two possessions. Doane never got another shot off. Junior Bryce Parsons came away with a steal on the Tigers’ next possession and made both free throws after getting fouled, getting Midland to the final 65-58 tally.
Parsons continued to build on an impressive start to his career as a Warriors with another solid performance. The junior finished in double figures for the fifth time this season, this time pitching in 12 points to go with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
The Warriors managed to climb back into the game because of their defense and ball security. Midland forced 16 turnovers out of Doane, including eight steals, and turned those turnovers into 20 points. The Warriors only committed nine turnovers, the second game in a row with single-digit turnovers, resulting in just 10 Tiger points. Midland was only whistled for eight fouls compared to Doane’s 17.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup, freshman Malik Martin has given Midland a boost offensively. Martin finished Wednesday’s game with 13 points on 6-13 shooting, including the go-ahead layup late in the game. Martin also contributed three rebounds, one steal, and one assist.
After an upsetting overtime loss last week to No. 17 Dakota Wesleyan, the Warriors needed a good performance to get back in the win column. Wednesday’s gritty performance is another indication that this Warriors team is poised to make some noise in the GPAC this season, proving that they are a tough team to put away.
The Warriors will play on the road again Saturday as they travel to Mount Marty (2-6, 0-3). Tipoff in Yankton, South Dakota is set for 4:00 p.m.