SIOUX CITY | Dakota Wesleyan is one of the top scoring NAIA Division II men’s basketball teams in the country and there was little Morningside could do to contain the Tigers Thursday night.
Or, at least it appeared that way.
Freshman Nate Davis dumped in a career-high 25 points as Dakota Wesleyan, ranked No. 9 nationally, rolled to a 101-72 Great Plains Athletic Conference triumph over the Mustangs at Allee Gym.
The Tigers, 19-5 overall and tied with Midland for the GPAC lead at 10-2, shot 59 percent from the field and eclipsed 100 points for the sixth time this season. Dakota Wesleyan rained in 16 3-point shots, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.
Morningside (16-7, 6-6) made only 36.5 percent of its shots and lost its fourth conference game at home.
Davis and fellow freshman Ty Hoglund scored the first 18 points of the game, staking Dakota Wesleyan to an 18-7 lead. The Tigers went on to shoot a sizzling 67.7 percent in the first half en route to a 55-31 lead at the break.
Davis, from Watertown, S.D., had 17 points by intermission and Hoglund, last year’s South Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball from Dell Rapids, scored 15.
Hoglund finished with 21 points while junior Jason Spicer, a 6-6 post from Sioux Falls Roosevelt, made all nine of his shots and charted a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Spicer came into the contest shooting 64 percent from the field.
In short, Dakota Wesleyan dominated from start to finish, cooling off a Morningside team that had been red-hot itself, making 39 3-pointers in its last two games, both one-sided victories.
“You have to contain the ball to begin with and we did a not very good job of containing the basketball and anytime they can break you down on the bounce they have so many options,” Sykes. “They’ve got guys who can shoot it on the perimeter and obviously Spicer did a nice job inside, it puts a lot of pressure on you and when you’re scrambling for 25 seconds on defense somebody is going to be open and they took advantage of it.
“They played and shot it extremely well but I’m disappointed in our effort. I thought we played two of our better games and that would be contagious and give us a boost down the stretch. But we just didn’t show up tonight and I’m still looking for the answers as to why.”
Bryce Koch and Matthew Hahn led Morningside with 14 points apiece while Ryan Tegtmeier added 13 points and Tyler Borchers 11.
The night, though, belonged to DWU.
“Obviously we made a lot of shots right away in the first half,” Dakota Wesleyan Coach Matt Wilber said. “Morningside is a really good basketball team, they’ve been making a lot of shots and I didn’t know what to expect. We just had a really good shooting performance and I thought our defense was good, too.
“I thought our guards got their guards guarded early on and that made a difference. Koch is a load and is going to get shots unless you are trying to double him. It was a really clean game by our basketball team on both ends.”
Dakota Wesleyan increased its lead to as big as 34 points in the second half. Kaleb Johnson came off the bench to score 11 points while senior point guard Tate Martin dished out 11 assists, his 11th double-digit assist performance of the season.
Morningside plays at Northwestern Wednesday.