Wildcat men off to best start in almost 50 years

Wayne State ended five years of consecutive losses to Upper Iowa in men’s basketball with a dominating 83-56 win Friday at Dorman Gymnasium in Fayette, Iowa.

It was the first win for Wayne State over Upper Iowa since Feb. 23, 2013 when Wayne State edged the Peacocks 62-60 in Wayne. The six-game win streak for the Wildcats is the longest since a 15-game win streak for the Wildcats in the 1999-2000 season (Greg McDermott’s final year in Wayne). Wayne State’s 7-1 start is the best beginning to a season for a Wildcat men’s basketball team since the 1969-70 team under Dave Gunther, which finished 23-6 that season.

The first part of the game was close with three lead changes and four ties. The Wildcats took control of the game with a scoring surge at the midway point of the first half. A 12-4 Wildcat scoring run, culminated by a Kendall Jacks three-point play, gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead of the game at 24-14 at the 9:39 mark of the first half.

Later in the half, the Wildcats scored seven straight points on a Trevin Joseph 3-pointer followed by a Jacks basket and two free throws by Joseph to lead 37-19 at the 4:05 mark before taking a 43-28 lead at intermission.

After shooting 57.6 percent (19-33) in the first half, the Wildcats continued their strong play and never allowed Upper Iowa a chance to get back into the contest.

The Wildcats put together a short highlight reel in the second half with two dunks as Trevin Joseph threw down the first slam following a Jacks steal. That was followed by another Jacks steal and breakaway dunk to put the Wildcats ahead 61-36 with 13:23 remaining and they were able to cruise to the easy win.

Kendall Jacks led the Wildcats in scoring with 21 points on 10 of 12 shooting from the field. Jacks moved past Brett Cain (1,228 pts from 2001-05) into 14th place in all-time scoring at Wayne State with 1,244 points.

Also scoring in double figures were Trevin Joseph with 16 points and Nick Ferrarini with 14. Chris Olson led Upper Iowa in scoring at 14 points followed by Munachiso Okonkwo and Jareese Williams with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Wayne State won the rebounding battle over Upper Iowa 37-30 thanks to seven boards each from Jacks and Ben Dentlinger. Dentlinger was credited with four of Wayne State’s eight blocked shots in the contest while Luke TerHark and Jacks each had three assists while Nick Ferrarini had three steals.  

Wayne State (7-1, 2-0 NSIC) will play at Winona State Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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