The Dakota State University Trojans men’s basketball team hosted NAIA’s 12th ranked Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers on Monday January 2nd, in a matchup of two South Dakota foes. On a night where head coach of the Trojans, Gary Garner, was honored for recently winning his 500th career game, the fans were given an exciting game that was neck and neck until the finish, featuring 3 ties and 4 lead changes. The Trojans used a balanced attack, having 5 players scoring in double figures, to pull off the upset of the Tigers, snapping a seven game losing streak in DSU’s annual meeting with their rival to the west. After taking a 34-33 lead into the locker room at halftime, DSU used their hot shooting and stellar defense to outscore Dakota Wesleyan 42-34 in the second half, edging out the Tigers by a score of 76-67. The Trojans went 15 for 29 on second half field goals, and made 6 of their 10 three point attempts, while holding DWU to 14 of 33 from the field in the second half, and 1 of 14 three point tries. For the game, DSU made 29 of 61 attempts while going 10 for 18 from beyond the three point line. The Trojans also managed to keep the high scoring Tigers offense in check as they shot 26 for 59 on the night, going just 6 for 27 from deep.
The Trojans were led in scoring by Kyle Kilgore, who went 8 for 16 shooting and made 3 of 4 free throw attempts to put up a team high 19 points. Following Kilgore in scoring was Kevin Daniels who scored an impressive 16 points off the bench, which would prove to be a crucial stat of the game as Dakota State’s bench outscored the Tigers bench 20 to 7. Also helping out on the scoring end was Ian Barse, who showed his skills from long range, making 5 of his 9 three-point attempts to put up 15 points. Tanner Heiser tallied 12 points, and Justin Folkers chipped in with 10 points. In addition to leading in the scoring column, Kilgore also led the team in rebounding, assists, and steals pulling down 8 boards, dishing out 5 assists, and coming up with 3 steals.
Dakota Wesleyan was led in scoring by Jason Spicer, who put up a game high 24 points, going 9 of 14 shooting the ball. He was followed by Tate Martin who managed 16 points in the contest. Martin also had a double-double for the game, as he was able to find his teammates for 10 assists in addition to his 16 points. Trae Vandeberg led the Tigers with 9 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
The Trojan win pushed Dakota State’s record to 8-10 overall, while 12th ranked Dakota Wesleyan fell to 15-4 on the season. The win also marks the second win in a row for the Dakota State squad over a team ranked in the NAIA’s top 25, as they defeated York College (Neb.), 82-74, on December 30th in the Mike Miller Classic. Up next, the Trojans will travel to Mayville State to take on the Comets on January 6th at 7:30 P.M. Dakota Wesleyan travels to Orange City, IA on January 7th for their 4:00 P.M. matchup with Northwestern College.