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Warriors bring down Golden Eagles

By Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – The Waldorf College men’s basketball team earned a 75-69 victory over the University of Minnesota-Crookston on Friday.

The Golden Eagles (0-1) became the first NCAA Division II opponent to face the Warriors (2-1) at Hanson Fieldhouse.

“It was a great a win for our program, no question about it,” Waldorf head coach Nigel Jenkins said. “We just have to keep getting better every day.”

The Warriors shot 50.9 percent, going 29-of-57 from the field. Hot shooting proved to provide a lift for Waldorf, which held Minnesota-Crookston to a 27-of-66 (40.9-percent) shooting effort.

“We just try to stay aggressive with what we do,” Jenkins said. “If we’re doing well attacking, getting some post touches, keep moving and sharing the basketball, good things will happen for us.”

Senior Erik Brewer led Waldorf with a game-high 21 points. Brewer knocked down 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) shots from the field and went 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) from the free-throw line.

“He was good for us again and being consistent is the name of the game in college basketball,” Jenkins said. “Erik is our glue. As long as he’s consistent at what he does and is efficient, he’s going to have a good night.”

Waldorf junior Michael Morgan notched a double-double, adding 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Morgan shot 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) from the field.

Junior June Prowell spent the game approaching a triple-double as he tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Warriors.

“June did a great job of getting to the paint and finding people, even in transition kicking it out for threes,” Jenkins said. “He had a very good all-around game. I love the fact that he got in there and rebounded.”

Waldorf junior Tyler Parrish also scored in double figures, providing 10 points. Junior Pierre Roddy finished with eight points while sophomores Kaden Verdin and Eric English contributed six points apiece.

Roddy also worked on the defensive end, generating three steals on the night.

“We had a lot of guys step up and make different plays throughout the course of the game,” Jenkins said.

The Warriors and Golden Eagles were evenly matched in several statistical categories. Minnesota-Crookston narrowly won the rebounding battle by a 37-36 margin. The two teams scored 34 points apiece in the paint and each committed 13 turnovers.

Ben Grygiel came off the bench to pace the Golden Eagles with 15 points, shooting 6-of-12 (50 percent) from the field. Nate Lorenz reached double digits with 11 points. C.J. Polk dropped in nine points, Derrick Redd, Jr. scored eight points and Chase Kinckerbocker had eight points.

Waldorf shot 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from the perimeter while Minnesota-Crookston finished 8-of-27 (29.6 percent). The Golden Eagles were 7-of-10 (70 percent) at the foul line. Waldorf managed five more trips to the line and went 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Warriors opened the game with a 10-3 run. Minnesota-Crookston responded by attacking the paint and evened the score at 18-all with 9 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the first half. Waldorf led by as many as nine points in the opening half and remained in front 37-31 at halftime.

The Warriors maintained a steady lead to start the second half. They fired up the home crowd when Prowell came up with a steal and fed Morgan for a fast-break dunk to boost the lead to 43-37. Following a timeout, the Golden Eagles trimmed the deficit to four points. Waldorf responded, seizing momentum and charging to a 66-53 lead behind a 23-16 run with 5:37 remaining in the game.

Minnesota-Crookston reduced the lead to six points down the stretch behind some good late shooting and a four-point play from Riley Rice with eight seconds left on the clock.

The Warriors owned a 14-9 advantage in points off turnovers and were strong with the ball throughout most of the contest.

“I thought we did a decent job of taking care of the basketball except for a couple of different spurts,” Jenkins said. “We want to play for 40 minutes and I think honestly, we probably played well for 35 [minutes]. We’ll keep working to put together 40 minutes, which is tough to do.”

Waldorf continues its season on Saturday against Mount Marty College (0-4) at 6 p.m. in Yankton, South Dakota.

“It’s tough to play back-to-back and give a 110-percent effort all of the time,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got to step up and make plays.”