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Cougars shoot past Waldorf in exhibition

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Hot shooting in the second half propelled the University of Sioux Falls to an 80-57 win over the Waldorf College men’s basketball team during Saturday’s exhibition matchup.

NCAA Division II’s Cougars (3-1) went 49.2 percent from the field on 30-of-61 shooting, including a 13-of-27 (48.1-percent) performance from 3-point range. After going 10-of-28 (35.7 percent) from the floor in the opening half, Sioux Falls responded with a 20-of-33 (60.6-percent) shooting clip in the second half.

The Warriors (3-1) went 22-of-70 (31.4 percent) from the field and 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from the perimeter. They played the Cougars close through the first 20 minutes and trailed 29-28 at halftime. Sioux Falls outscored Waldorf 51-29 the rest of the way.

“We defended extremely well in the first half,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “We’ve got to be able to keep playing defense and that’s what it came down to.”

June Prowell led the Warriors with a double-double as the junior from Atlanta scored 17 points and collected 11 rebounds.

“He was aggressive,” Jenkins said. “June is always going to be around the boards, especially on the defensive end. He actually takes a lot of pride in grabbing defensive boards. He found a way to be productive.”

Waldorf sophomore Kaden Verdin and freshman Devon Collins provided 11 points each. Junior Michael Morgan added six points. Sophomore BJ Brown contributed five points, freshman Isaiah Curry turned in four points, sophomore Cedric Woodson tallied two points and junior Tyler Parrish rounded out the scoring effort with one point.

Collins added eight rebounds while Verdin pulled down seven boards to help the Warriors out-rebound the Cougars by a 47-45 margin. Twenty offensive rebounds led Waldorf to a 25-13 advantage in second-chance points. The Warriors won the battle on the boards against an NCAA Division II opponent for the second straight night.

“There were a lot of positives that came out of this game in between the stats and in between the lines,” Jenkins said. “Overall, with these two exhibition games we learned a lot about ourselves and we got a lot out of it.”

Clint Thomas paced Sioux Falls with a career-high 21 points. Thomas caught fire from the perimeter, sinking 7-of-10 (70 percent) shots.

“We lost their shooters,” Jenkins said. “That’s unacceptable. You’ve got to be able to get to shooters.”

Mack Johnson scored 16 points for the Cougars, who also received 15 points from Drew Guebert and 11 points from Daniel Hurtt.

Waldorf was missing senior Erik Brewer from an injury and junior Pierre Roddy was also held out of action. Brewer currently leads the Warriors in scoring with 19 points a game. Parrish and sophomore Kaimen Slay didn’t enter the game until the second half, but Waldorf held its own and was within one point at halftime.

“I think that says a lot about our depth,” Jenkins said. “I really like our team. We’re going to have a chance when it’s all said and done.”

Sioux Falls committed 14 turnovers while the Warriors turned the ball over 13 times. The Cougars owned a 17-12 margin in points off turnovers.

Waldorf looks to hit it hard in practice and to focus on fine-tuning its game before hosting Governors State University (1-9) on Friday at 8 p.m.

“This week, we have to really concentrate and work out our own kinks,” Jenkins said. “There are a lot of things we have to clean up from our standpoint, so we can get better.”

Two exhibition games this weekend presented tough tests for the Warriors, but allowed them to assess where they need to work moving forward.

“I just like the way that we’ve fought against these Division II teams the past two days in different portions of the games,” Jenkins said. “If we can put that together for a full 40 minutes, we can be tough.”