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Waldorf drops loss to No. 17 Mount Mercy

By Matt Oliverwaldorf-warriors-outline_1

FOREST CITY – A second-half shooting slump derailed the Waldorf College men’s basketball team in an 81-74 loss to Mount Mercy University on Wednesday.

The Mustangs (22-6), who entered the night ranked No. 17 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll, held the Warriors (15-12) to a 12-of-36 (33.3-percent) showing from the field in the second half.

Erik Brewer led Waldorf with 20 points, pulled down seven rebounds and handed out three assists. He shot 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from the floor and knocked down all seven of his free-throw attempts.

Playing his final home game at Hanson Fieldhouse on Senior Night, Brewer’s work on the boards helped him set a new school record for rebounds in a career. The 6-foot-6 senior forward from Las Vegas now has 601 rebounds, surpassing the previous mark of 598 boards set by 2015 graduate Jordan Nelson. Brewer also tops the school record books in scoring with 1,718 points.

Senior Tyler Parrish provided 19 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Warriors. Parrish hit 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) attempts from the field and converted on 4-of-5 (80 percent) foul shots.

Waldorf junior Michael Morgan also scored in double figures as he added 12 points, six boards and two assists. Junior June Prowell finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists. The Warriors received four points apiece from sophomores Eric English, Kaden Verdin and freshman Isaiah Curry. Freshman Devon Collins contributed two points. Verdin turned in team-highs, coming away with three steals and blocking two shots.

Mount Mercy’s Alex Houston had the hot hand all night, racking up a game-high 28 points. Houston shot 78.6 percent, finishing 11-of-14 from the floor. He also forced four steals and sank 6-of-8 (75 percent) shots at the charity stripe.

Tre Wagner netted 14 points for the Mustangs and dished out a game-high six assists. CJ Parker and Kyle Lamaak hauled in six rebounds each to lead Mount Mercy to a 44-39 advantage on the boards.

The Mustangs, who were outscored 36-34 in the paint, shot 24-of-59 (40.7 percent) from the field and 3-of-17 (17.6) from 3-point range while securing their fourth straight win. Waldorf went 27-of-70 (38.6 percent) from the floor and 2-of-21 (9.5 percent) from the perimeter.

Mount Mercy capitalized at the foul line, draining 30-of-36 (83.3 percent) foul shots. The Warriors sank 18 of their 22 (81.8 percent) free-throw attempts.

Waldorf came away with a 13-10 edge in points off turnovers and an 8-4 advantage in fast-break points. The Mustangs committed 14 turnovers while the Warriors turned the ball over 13 times.

Waldorf controlled the offensive glass by a 13-12 margin, but both teams manufactured 13 second-chance points. Bench production provided Mount Mercy with a lift as the Mustangs’ reserves outscored the Warriors’ bench 24-10.

It was a back-and-forth battle early. Waldorf led by as many as seven points in the first half, jumping out to a 22-15 advantage with 11 minutes, 58 seconds to go until intermission. The Mustangs used a 16-8 run to go in front 31-30 five minutes later. Waldorf responded and held a 42-37 lead at halftime.

The Warriors led by no more than five points in the second half. Mount Mercy slowly chipped away at the deficit and went on top 53-52 following a layup by Lamaak with 12:06 to play. Parrish knocked down a jump shot as Waldorf reclaimed the lead on the following possession.

Morgan hit a pair of free throws, pushing the Warriors to a 58-54 advantage with 9:47 remaining. A layup from Houston capped a 12-2 run as the Mustangs raced to a 66-60 lead with 5:49 to go. In a 37-second span, Parrish answered with a layup and connected on a fast-break basket to pull Waldorf within two points.

Mount Mercy maintained a cushion, countering with an 11-4 run. The Mustangs went on top by nine points on two occasions and owned a 77-68 advantage with 1:49 left on the clock. Verdin provided a layup and Parrish converted on a pair of free throws as the Warriors cut the lead to five points.

Parker was hit with an untimely technical foul, which led to Parrish sinking two free throws and reducing Mount Mercy’s lead to 77-74 with 31 seconds to play. With the clock ticking away, Waldorf was forced to foul. Wagner knocked down four foul shots to seal the win.

With the victory, the Mustangs salvaged a season split with the Warriors. Waldorf topped Mount Mercy in a 99-92 win on Jan. 28 at Cedar Rapids.

The Warriors look to bounce back as they face Clarke University (13-14) in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. tipoff at Dubuque. Waldorf closes out the regular season on Saturday, taking on Silver Lake College (9-23) in a 5 p.m. contest at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.