(Editor's note: DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE - Joe Mpoyo’s 3-pointer at the buzzer narrowly missed and No. 21 ranked North Dakota State College of Science broke DCC’s 35-game home winning streak against conference opponents.
The record dated back to January 24, 2019; over 3 calendar years. In front of a near capacity and very raucous crowd, it was a true heavyweight showdown between the top two teams in the Mon-Dak Conference and two of the top scoring teams in the country. The loss drops Dawson to 20-5 on the year, with three of those losses coming to the Wildcats. NDSCS beat the Bucs by 3 points in November and 4 points earlier this month. They are now 24-1 on the season.
It’s a little disheartening to lose to them again,” shared Bucs Coach Joe Peterson. “It was a great game between two good college basketball teams who are very evenly matched. I thought we played well enough to win tonight. We held their top two playmakers to 4-11 shooting and out-rebounded them by 10, but it just wasn’t enough. I have no doubt we can beat them and hopefully we can put ourselves in the right position to get another shot at them in the post-season.”
The first half was a nip and tuck affair with 10 ties and 5 lead changes. NDSCS started with an 8-4 cushion before DeAngelo came in for Dawson and made a jumpshot, a couple of free throws and a monstrous dunk to tie it up at ten. Conner Hollenbeck responded with his own jumpshot before Horn got another dunk. For the next eight minutes, neither team led by more than two points. Then Dawson made a quick 8-0 run behind Horn again. He got another dunk, followed by a lay-up and three free throws. Micah Swallow stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer and it was NDSCS who finished the half strong with a couple free throws from reigning Conference Player of the Year Khari Broadway and a floater in the lane at the buzzer by Logan Jedwabny to pull the visitors within two at 36-38. The stats also showed how evenly played the first half ended. Both teams had eight turnovers and both teams shot 14-31 from the field and 2-10 from the 3-point line. The only difference was two more free throws from Dawson and a slight 19-16 advantage on the glass. Horn led Dawson with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Swallow led NDSCS with 10 points.
There were five more ties and eleven more lead changes in the second half. The largest lead either team could get in the first fifteen minutes of the second half was by four points until Jedwabny made his 5th 3-pointer of the second half to put the Wildcats up by two. Swallow and Broadway made lay-ups to increase it to a six point advantage. Swallow scored two more times to give NDSCS their biggest lead of the game at 73-65 with three minutes left. Dawson battled back and in the final minute Horn scored for the Bucs to pull within two points at 75-73.
The Bucs got a defensive stop on the next possession and Horn was fouled on the rebound with 11 seconds left. He missed the first, but made the second to make it 75-74. Dawson was forced to foul with 5 seconds remaining. JaQuan Sanders-Smith made the first and missed the second. Dawson’s Michael Jok grabbed the rebound, dribbled ahead and found Mpoyo on the wing for the shot as time was ticking down. With two guys flying at him, he got off a good shot that didn’t quite go down. Even though he ended up on the ground, there was no call and NDSCS escaped with another close win over the defending champions.
The stats bear how close this game was. Dawson ended the game shooting 28-64 from the field and NDSCS shot 28-63. Both teams finished with 17 turnovers. Both teams shot 23 free throws with Dawson making 15 and NDSCS 13. Dawson had a 45-35 rebounding advantage but the Wildcats made four more 3-pointers, which proved to be the difference in the end.
Dawson was led by Horn’s 18 points on 6-7 shooting from the field, and 8 rebounds. Jalen Tot also scored in double figures with 10 points to go along with 8 assists and 3 steals. Jok was quiet from a scoring standpoint, but he finished the game with 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats got a big night from Micah Swallow who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jedwabny also had a good game with 17 points, hitting 5 big 3's in the second half.
It is rare to see Dawson lose at home. Before the loss to NDSCS, in the last three years, Dawson was 38-2 overall at home and 29-0 in conference home games. Dating back five years ago, the Bucs were 65-7 overall at home and 40-2 in conference home games.
Meantime, the women's game could have went either way.
With 4 ties and 4 lead changes, the ball eventually bounced in favor of the visiting Wildcats. Dawson lost 66-60, and North Dakota Science maintained their lead atop of the conference standings.
“Science has a lot of scorers and height, and they are using it to their advantage,” said Dawson Coach Romeo Lagmay, Jr. “It was a great battle. With what they have at full strength, and we are not, I’d say I’m still impressed with our team’s efforts and their will to win.”
Both teams did not shoot it well from beyond the arc, but both were fairly equal in almost every statistical category. Science shot 75% from the foul line while Dawson shot 70%. Science, however, scored 24 points from the charity stripe, and Dawson only 14. Points in the paint were tied at 24 points apiece. In points off turnovers, Science had 9 and Dawson had 8. Science had 11 second chance points while Dawson had 9. Dawson did outscore the Lady Wildcats’ bench 15-12.
The Lady Bucs efforts were outstanding as they rallied behind from a 15 point deficit, but the scoring attack from the Lady Wildcats was just a little bit more impacting. Leading scorer in the nation, Ivane Tensaie, drilled in 17 points and 4 assists for the Wildcats. Ambah Kowcun recorded a double double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Arthel Massaquoi added 12 points.
For Dawson, Sabira Ahayeva led the charge with 14 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out. Logan Stetzner came off the bench to score 11 points and grab 4 rebounds. Brianna Bergum scored 10 points and had 7 rebounds.
Dawson will have some time to rest this week, then get back on the road to face Dakota College on Sunday, February 6.