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Blue Hawks survive, hold off Warriors in overtime

By: Waldorf Sports Information Director

DICKINSON, North Dakota – Dickinson State University held off the Waldorf University men’s basketball team, securing a 99-96 overtime win during Saturday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) showdown.

The Blue Hawks (16-7, 8-2) held a three-point lead with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, but Kaden Verdin hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 87-all and send the game to overtime.

“I give a lot of credit to our guys for making the right plays,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “They didn’t rush it. Kaden got open, and he’s very capable of knocking down threes.”

Dickinson State prevailed, narrowly outscoring the Warriors (9-13, 5-4) by a 12-9 margin in overtime.

June Prowell paced Waldorf with 21 points while providing seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. The 6-foot-2 senior point guard from Atlanta shot 50 percent, going 6-of-12 from the field and 2-of-5 (40 percent) from 3-point range. Prowell also converted on 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) trips to the free-throw line.

Falmata Tula turned in Waldorf career-highs with 18 points and five assists. The 6-foot junior guard from Minneapolis went 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from the floor, 1-of-2 (50 percent) behind the arc and 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) at the foul line. Tula also came away with two steals.

Senior Michael Morgan recorded his fifth double-double of the season, adding 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds for the Warriors. Morgan handed out two assists and collected two steals. He went 70 percent from the field on 7-of-10 shooting and hit 3-of-4 (75 percent) attempts at the charity stripe.

Verdin also notched 17 points and pulled down five boards. The 6-foot-9 junior center from Atwater, California dropped in 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) shots from the floor and hit his only attempt from downtown.

All five Waldorf starters scored in double figures. Freshman Brady Kuchinka netted 13 points and contributed two assists while shooting 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from the field and 3-of-6 (50 percent) from 3-pointland.

“Offensively, there weren’t any major issues for us,” Jenkins said. “We got the ball inside, we were knocking down shots from outside and we were attacking. It was a good overall effort on that end.”

Junior Leland March tallied five points for the Warriors. Sophomore Shay Motter finished with three points and freshman Gabriel Munoz rounded out Waldorf’s scoring with two points.

Marcus White led the Blue Hawks, posting a double-double with 21 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to help his team claim a 46-36 advantage on the boards. White sank 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) attempts from the floor and knocked down 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) foul shots.

Dickinson State’s Terrell Butler poured in 18 points to go along with five boards. Butler shot 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) from the field, 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range and 6-of-8 (75 percent) at the charity stripe.

Reggie Fields Jr. scored 17 points for the Blue Hawks and Dontae Clark also reached double figures with 12 points. Fields went 46.2 percent from the floor on 6-of-13 shooting and converted on 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) free-throw attempts. Dontae Clark finished 4-of-8 (50 percent) from the field and 2-of-4 (50 percent) from downtown.

Dickinson State received nine points apiece from Jerry Shevlin and Ryan Clark. Shevlin produced a team-high four assists, and Jake Buck led the Blue Hawks with three steals.

The Warriors shot 50.7 percent for the game, connecting on 36-of-71 attempts from the floor and went 9-of-20 (45 percent) from 3-point range. Dickinson State also had a strong shooting night, hitting 31-of-62 (50 percent) attempts from the floor and 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) shots behind the arc. Both teams registered 44 points in the paint.

The Blue Hawks had no trouble getting to the foul line where they converted on 31-of-49 (63.3 percent) attempts. Waldorf finished 15-of-20 (75 percent) at the charity stripe.

Dickinson State controlled the offensive glass with a 13-7 advantage and gained a 9-6 edge in second-chance points.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, which led the Blue Hawks to a 15-12 advantage in points off turnovers. Dickinson State turned the ball over 14 times.

Turnovers didn’t prove costly for Waldorf until late in the contest. The Blue Hawks were also aided by offensive rebounds following missed free throws.

“We had a couple of really bad turnovers in the second half and in overtime,” Jenkins said. “They came back to haunt us and giving up second-chance points off those free throws and rebounding situations, at the end of the day it killed us.”

The Warriors scored six straight points to start the game. Dickinson State led by as many as six points, going in front 23-17 with 7 minutes, 57 seconds to go in the first half. Waldorf countered with an 18-5 run to build a 35-28 lead with 2:52 left in the opening half. The Warriors remained on top 35-33 at halftime.

Waldorf shot 45.2 percent in the first half, going 14-of-31 from the field and 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from 3-pointland. The Blue Hawks were held to a 36.4-percent shooting effort in the first half as they went 12-of-33 from the floor and 3-of-10 (30 percent) from the perimeter.

At halftime, the Warriors owned a 23-19 advantage on the boards. However, they were outrebounded 27-13 the rest of the way.

“I told our guys this game was going to come down to defensive rebounding,” Jenkins said.

Dickinson State lit it up in the second half. They shot 72 percent, draining 18-of-25 attempts from the field and 3-of-6 (50 percent) attempts from downtown during the final 20 minutes of regulation.

“You can’t let them shoot that well,” Jenkins said. “When you’re on the road, it has to be a priority, and it has to be for 40 minutes.”

Waldorf recorded a 60-percent shooting clip in the second half, finishing 21-of-35 from the floor and 4-of-10 (40 percent) behind the arc.

The Blue Hawks went on top 36-35 with 18:52 to play in the second half. In a second half that featured five lead changes and five ties, Dickinson State extended its lead to 76-68 following a 3-pointer from Dontae Clark with 4:23 on the clock.

The Warriors chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within one point after Tula drilled a 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining in regulation. White answered with a basket on the ensuing possession to give the Blue Hawks an 87-84 lead. Verdin delivered a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds to force overtime.

“The sense of urgency wasn’t there on the defensive end until we were coming from behind in the second half,” Jenkins said.

Waldorf reclaimed the lead, going in front 91-90 behind a pair of free throws from Prowell with 2:50 to go in overtime. It marked the final lead of the contest for the Warriors.

The Blue Hawks seized control and pushed their lead to five points, holding a 97-93 advantage with 12 seconds to play. Buck went to the foul line, hitting his first attempt and missed his second shot. Butler grabbed an offensive rebound on the missed free throw, forcing Waldorf to foul with time ticking away. Butler sank two shots at the charity stripe to boost Dickinson State to a six-point cushion with nine seconds remaining. Motter knocked down a 3-pointer with one second left, but that’s all the closer the Warriors would get as they saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.

The second meeting of the season was the battle Waldorf expected after topping the Blue Hawks in a 64-60 victory on Jan. 6 at Forest City.

“They have a good team just like everybody else in this league,” Jenkins said. “In the North Star, you have to be able to play 40 minutes of basketball. It’s going to be tough no matter what.”

The conference schedule doesn’t let up for the Warriors, who travel to North Dakota for a pair of games next weekend. They square off against the University of Jamestown (11-12, 6-4) on Friday in a 7:30 p.m. matchup at Jamestown, North Dakota Waldorf faces Valley City State University (12-11, 4-5) on Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. at Valley City, North Dakota.

“It’s not going to get any easier,” Jenkins said. “Every night, you have to come ready to play and compete until the final horn. We’re going to need a good week of practice and preparation to be ready to get back after it next weekend.”