FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University picked up their first win of the season with a commanding 83-66 victory over Hastings College on Wednesday night. The Warriors won the battle of Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) rivals thanks to a balanced scoring attack and solid defense down the stretch.
The Warriors buried the Broncos they caught fire from behind the arc. Midland had five different players make multiple three-pointers on the night and combined to go 14-of-31 (45.2%) from behind the arc.
Midland’s hot shooting was evident from the start as less than seven minutes into the game junior guard Bo Sandquist (12pts) was already 3-of-4 from downtown. Sophomore guard Jake Rueschhoff (10pts) and senior guard Laurence Merritt (8pts), had each hit a three-point shot to give the Warriors an 18-12 lead at the 13:42 mark.
The Broncos were also active on the offensive end in the early going, not from deep though where they were 2-of-10 on the night, but from inside the arc. They were aggressive and were 13-of-21 on two-point shots.
After trading baskets for much of the half, a Rueschhoff full-court pass would set up freshman Kyle Castille (4pts) with a buzzer-beating layup to break the tie and give the Warriors a 39-37 lead going into the half.
The Warriors would go back and forth with the Broncos for much of the second half as well, but the Warriors would never let their lead get smaller than three points.
After hitting seven three-point shots in the first half, Midland hit another seven with better efficiency, shooting 7-of-10 (70%) from the arc over the final 20 minutes.
The Warriors were boosted by solid performances from their freshmen post players. Forward Colby Tichota earned a career-high with his 12-point performance (4-of-7 from 3) and Josh Lambert had a career-high as well with 19 points along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
Towards the end of the game, Midland’s lead dropped to five points but they finish with a 19-7 run to complete their first win and thrust themselves into the middle of the GPAC standings.
“I’m happy for our guys. They’ve been battling. It was really good to see them come out and play sharp and dialed-in,” commented head coach Oliver Drake postgame. “I thought our guys did a good job, for the most part, understanding the scouting report, taking away some of Hastings’ strengths, and limiting them offensively. They were missing one of their key players but holding a GPAC team to 66 points is tough to do no matter the circumstances.”
The Warriors (1-3,1-2 GPAC) will be back in action again on Saturday, November 21 when they travel to Orange City, Iowa to face Northwestern (3-1, 1-1 GPAC). The matchup is set for a 4:00 p.m tip inside the Bultman Center.