SIOUX CITY – Briar Cliff stayed hot on the heels of crosstown rival Morningside in the Great Plains Athletic Conference men’s basketball race with a dominating defensive performance Wednesday at the Newman Flanagan Center.
The seventh-ranked (NAIA Division II) Chargers downed No. 21 Jamestown 86-70, limiting the league’s top scoring team to 24 points below its season average. Briar Cliff moved to 15-3 overall with its fourth straight win and is one-half game in back of Morningside at 9-2 in the GPAC.
Sophomore guard Ethan Freidel continued his torrid pace since the Chargers lost All-American Erich Erdman to a season-ending injury several games ago. Freidel scored 21 points and dished out seven assists and although he didn’t score as much as he usually does, Division II player of the week Jay Wolfe handed out seven assists to go along with 10 points.
BCU also got a big lift from young post players Kyle Boerhave and Austin Roetman, who combined for 32 points. Boerhave, a 6-6 freshman from Sheldon High School, scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Roetman, a 6-8 sophomore from Pocahontas, Iowa, tossed in 14 points.
Sharpshooter Jackson Lamb chipped in 14 points, combining with Freidel to make nine of the Chargers’ 13 3-pointers.
“It’s really been a process since Erich got hurt and you know he’s so ball dominant and good with the ball in his hands,” Briar Cliff Coach Mark Svagera said. “We put a lot of that on Jay Wolfe but Ethan Freidel has really stepped up and both those guys had seven assists tonight.
“They both have the ability to make the play and Jay in particular, he just always makes the right play. They did a really good job of guarding him but he had seven assists and eight rebounds and that’s just how he is.”
Briar Cliff distanced itself a bit toward the end of the first half and broke with a 37-27 lead at intermission. Boerhave gave the team a spark early in the second with six straight points, including a couple of dunks, then Roetman put it out of reach with eight points in the span of a minute midway through. He hit two consecutive 3-pointers and slammed home a dunk.
“Jay Wolfe has really stepped up and become a leader and as a freshman, I just love seeing that,” Boerhave said. “Our upperclassmen have taught me a lot in the post and it’s been a lot of fun. They really helped prepare me to become the player I am now.”
Svagera said he was pleased with his team’s defensive execution.
“We wanted to really make them work to score and I thought for the most part we did a really good job of that,” Svagera said. “At halftime we talked about let’s come out and leave no doubt. We’ve been in the situation before where we’ve let teams get right back in the game and then you’ve got a dogfight. Tonight we did a good job keeping our foot on the gas pedal and extending our lead from the get-go in the second half.”
Jamestown (17-4, 7-4) kept it within 10 points six minutes into the second half, 50-40, but Lamb and Freidel nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and Jaden Kleinhesselink added a bucket. Roetman’s jam with just under 10 minutes remaining made it 70-48.
Kevin Oberweiser paced Jamestown with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The Jimmes came into the game averaging 93.6 points per game, tops in the GPAC and third nationally.
The Chargers prevailed 104-98 in a shootout at Jamestown in the conference opener Nov. 7.
Briar Cliff plays at Concordia Saturday.