WSC men end 19-year losing streak at Southwest, women continue dominance

For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the Wayne State men came home from Southwest Minnesota State with a win.

The Wildcat men nearly blew a 14-point second-half lead, but held on for a 75-68 win over the Mustangs in an NSIC matchup Saturday in Marshall, Minn., marking their first win on the Mustangs’ home court since Feb. 12, 2000, when Brad Joens’ desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Wildcats a 67-65 win.

The win capped a successful day at Southwest Minnesota State for the Wildcats, as the Wayne State women won their 19th straight game over the Lady Mustangs with a 76-74 win.

In the men’s game, Wayne State (11-3, 6-2 NSIC) took the lead for good early in the first half, breaking an 11-11 tie with six straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Al’Tavius Jackson with 11:15 to go in the half to make it 17-11.

Wayne State expanded their lead to 13 points on a Jackson dunk with 5:27 to go in the half, but the Mustangs cut into the lead and trailed 40-34 aft intermission.

The Wildcats rebuilt their lead to 13 points with less than 12 minutes to go, but the Mustangs rallied again and got as close as 59-53 before the Wildcats answered with an 8-0 run, finished off by a three-point play from Jordan Janssen with 7:33 to go.

Janssen put home a dunk with 6:33 to go to make it 71-57, and that was the Wildcats’ last basket of the game as the Mustangs rallied to get within four with 1:23 to go before Trevin Joseph capped the game with three free throws to seal the win.

Kendall Jacks paced Wayne State with 15 points followed by Jackson with a season-high 14 off the bench. Joseph and Janssen also hit double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.

After getting outrebounded Friday night at Sioux Falls, Wayne State bounced back with a great night on the glass, out-rebounding the Mustangs 45-33 thanks to nine boards from Jacks and Janssen. Jacks also had five assists while Vance Janssen had three steals.

In the women’s game, Maggie Lowe hit the go-ahead basket with 33.8 seconds remaining, then Wayne State stopped Southwest Minnesota State three times in the final 30 seconds to hang on and improve to 9-4 overall and 4-4 in NSIC action.

The Wildcats used 50 percent shooting in the first quarter, getting baskets from Lowe, Erin Norling, Kylie Hammer and Andrea Larson to build their biggest lead of the game at 17-8 before ending the quarter with a 21-17 advantage.

Southwest Minnesota State scored the first six points of the second quarter to take a 23-21 lead and eventually pushed the lead to seven at 39-32 with 2:34 remaining in the half before Wayne State closed the half with a 10-0 run, fueled by eight points that included a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore guard Halley Busse, to take a 42-39 lead at the break.

A tightly contested third quarter saw neither team lead by more than four points with the exception of one time when Busse canned a pair of free throws at the 3:02 mark of the quarter, giving Wayne State a 60-55 advantage. Busse hit a jumper to end the quarter to give Wayne State a 64-61 lead going to the final period.

Southwest Minnesota State scored the opening five points of the final quarter to take a 66-64 lead with 8:41 remaining, but Brittany Bongartz kept Wayne State in the game, scoring five straight points on a pair of free throws and three-point play to put the Wildcats back in front, 69-66.

A Bongartz free throw, followed by a Norling basket and another shot from Bongartz had Wayne State leading 74-71 with just under two minutes to play, but the Mustangs hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 74-74 with 1:44 to go.

Lowe converted a layup with 33 seconds remaining to break the tie. Norling then blocked two straight shots by Southwest and the Mustangs missed a potential game-tying shot as Wayne State escaped with the win.

Norling finished with 18 points to lead Wayne State in scoring followed by Busse with 17. Hammer added 12 while Bongartz recorded her second double-double in the last three games with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Norling was credited with a career-best seven assists and had three blocked shots in the win.

The Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Rice Auditorium next weekend, hosting Winona State Friday evening with games at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Upper Iowa Saturday  with the women at 3:30 p.m. and the men at 5:30 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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