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MORNINGSIDE MEN’S BASKETBALL

Doane defeats Morningside men with overtime buzzer-beater

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Morningside vs Doane basketball

Morningside's Zach Imig takes a shot as Doane's Tyler Sullivan defends him during Morningside University vs Doane University basketball action, Saturday in Sioux City.

SIOUX CITY — Sometimes in basketball, it all comes down to the final shot.

On Saturday afternoon at Allee Gymnasium, the final shot went against the Morningside men’s basketball team in its matchup with Doane, as the Mustangs wound up on the losing end of a 72-71 score.

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Morningside vs Doane basketball
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Morningside vs Doane basketball
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Morningside vs Doane basketball
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Morningside vs Doane basketball
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Morningside vs Doane basketball

With 18 seconds left in overtime, the Morningside crowd roared with delight when Mustangs’ senior Zach Imig nailed a 3-pointer to erase a two-point deficit and put the Mustangs ahead of the Tigers, 71-70.

Doane ended the game in dramatic fashion, when sophomore Josiah Gardiner took a pass from Doane senior Tyler Sullivan, and then put up a deep two-point shot from the corner. The ball hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, sending the Tigers to a wild comeback victory.

Once the winning shot went in, the Tigers’ bench swarmed Gardiner in celebration, as the disappointed Mustangs walked back toward the sideline.

“I thought we did a nice job taking away the initial action with what they wanted,” Morningside coach Trent Miller said. “They had to swing it late, the ball was rolling on the ground, and Tyler Sullivan was able to pick it up and chuck it to their big man who hit a 20-foot fadeaway that didn’t hit rim. This is a tough one to swallow, but it's how it goes.”

Earlier in the game, it looked like Morningside might be on its way to a convincing home win.

The Mustangs made six 3-pointers and collected 25 rebounds in the first half, as they built up a 35-25 lead at the break. Morningside shot 42.9 percent from 3-point territory in the first 20 minutes, while the Tigers converted just two of their nine attempts from deep.

But the Tigers offense roared back with 37 points in the second half, erasing the Mustangs’ 10-point advantage and sending the game to an extra frame. 

Doane shot 53.8 percent from the field in the second half, while Morningside shot 47.6 percent. 

“It’s just one of those things where they just kept chipping away,” Miller said. “They made some plays late to put it into overtime, you knew they had some momentum. For us, it was we knew we had to control that momentum. We’ve got to execute down the stretch.”

After going into OT tied at 62-62, the Mustangs and Tigers traded scores to ties of 64-64, 66-66, and 68-68.

Brady Timm made a jump shot from the perimeter with 35 seconds left, to give the Tigers a two-point lead, but Imig’s 3-pointer put the Mustangs back on top by one. 

“That felt great,” Imig said. “To be able to hit a shot to put us up with (18) seconds left felt amazing, and we kept stressing ‘We’ve got to get the stop, we’ve got to get the win.’ I thought we did play great defense until the end, but it just didn’t fall our way tonight.”

Seconds later, Gardiner made the game winner to send the road crowd home happy.

While the ending was a disappointment for the home team, there were still a few bright spots for the Mustangs to hang their hat on.

Morningside won the rebounding battle with 44 boards on the day, and had 13 assists, compared to just eight for Doane. The Mustangs also had 20 points off the bench, while the Tigers had just four points. 

But Miller said that the team will be focusing most on what they need to improve, as they go deeper in conference play.

“It’s the things that we need to fix that we’re going to be focusing on and growing,” Miller said. “As we get into the rest of the conference, the basketball is too good, so you can’t allow to have those mental lapses towards the end of the stretch.”

Trey Brown finished with a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds, while Imig came in close behind with 16 points and six rebounds.

Gardiner led the way for Doane with 22 points, while Timm and Anthony Laravie scored 18 points apiece.

For the Mustangs, the tough lessons from Saturday’s loss will be used as an chance to get better.

“Anytime win or lose, there are things to learn on film,” Miller said. “That’s what we’ll do. We’ll take some time and find a way to improve. We have a lot of growing to do. There was a lot of opportunities to bury that team and put some space between us and them, and we didn’t close the door. One of those things we need to get better at is making executing down the stretch and making tough shots.”

The loss drops Morningside to 10-6 overall, and 7-4 in GPAC play.

Doane is now 12-9, and 5-6 against conference foes. 

The Mustangs have dropped five of their past eight games dating back to December 8. For them, the time to improve is now.

“We’ve won the conference four years in a row, but at this point, we’ve been struggling a bit,” Imig said. “We’ve got to pick it up, and it starts with us. We’ve got to turn this thing around if we want to make another run at it.”

Morningside will play its next game on Wednesday, at Concordia (Neb.).

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