SIOUX CITY | There aren’t many times that a basketball team shoots 52 percent from the field and loses by 25 points.
Briar Cliff was just a bit hotter than Morningside Saturday at the Newman Flanagan Center, especially from beyond the arc, in a 102-77 win that jumbled the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings.
The ninth-ranked (NAIA Division II) Chargers shot 55 percent, cashing in on 17 of 25 3-pointers, or 48.6 percent. Morningside, meanwhile, made eight 3-pointers and was outscored by 27 points from long range.
Briar Cliff (12-2) led the No. 15 Mustangs (8-2) from start to finish, handing Morningside its first GPAC loss. BCU, Morningside and Concordia are tied for the league lead with 4-1 marks.
Jackson Lamb was especially torrid, nailing 8 of 13 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 27 points. Jay Wolfe (4 of 6 3-pointers) added 24 points while Erich Erdman had 21 points and nine assists.
“We really brought it tonight, we were ready from the get-go and it showed,” Lamb said. “We’re back in the driver’s seat a little bit but really we’re just trying to win every conference game. The conference is so tough we’re just taking every game as it is and trying to get a ‘W’.”
Briar Cliff entered the game as the NAIA Division II national leader with an average of 13 3-point field goals per game. It nearly matched that figure in the first half, canning 10 to build a 52-33 lead at intermission.
The closest Morningside came the entire game was 13-11, finding itself in an early hole when Wolfe scored and Erdman followed with a 3-pointer. The Chargers took control with an 11-0 run and eventually padded their cushion to 20 points when Wolfe nailed a 3-pointer with 17.5 seconds left before halftime.
The Mustangs got no closer than 15 points in the second half.
“We talked to the guys about coming out with a certain intensity that I thought maybe we lacked on Wednesday night (103-94 loss at Midland),” Briar Cliff Coach Mark Svagera said. “We wanted to play aggressively on both sides of the floor and I think our guys did a great job of that tonight.
“The way we shared the ball offensively was huge. We had 22 assists, which is a season high, and I told the guys that’s the most impressive stat of the night for us because that’s something we’ve been harping on. When we do it, I think we’re really hard to guard.”
Morningside’s Tyler Borchers, the GPAC Player of the Week, just missed a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds. Borchers didn’t miss in nine field goal attempts, finishing two goals shy of matching the Mustangs’ record for field goal accuracy in a game.
Brody Egger tacked on 20 points, hitting 4 of 9 3-pointers. Alex Borchers tallied nine points and grabbed a career-high six rebounds.
“Briar Cliff is a momentum basketball team and they got off to a good start making shots,” Morningside Coach Jim Sykes said. “The first half it was more on us. Yes, they were making shots, but 13 of those points came off turnovers by us. Obviously Briar Cliff gets credit for that but we missed just enough baskets we should make. The moment was a little too big for us at the beginning, we weren’t ready.”
Morningside had a five-game winning streak snapped by the impressive Briar Cliff showing.