Wildcat men’s basketball drops pair after wild winter break

Shawn Henley, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College men’s basketball team returned to Rice Auditorium last Friday and Saturday for the first time in 2017 to face off against Northern State and MSU Moorhead. The Wildcats fell short in both outings by the final scores of 76-66 (Northern State) and 95-87 (MSU Moorhead).

Friday night’s game began with Northern State’s Logan Doyle successfully making two free-throws after a foul by sophomore guard Vance Janssen. Junior guard JJ Zumbrennen scored the first points for the Wildcats.

Northern State’s Gabe King drilled a three-pointer that gave the Wolves the biggest lead of the first half, 17-11 at the 10:25 mark. The Wildcats answered back quickly as Jacks and Janssen made a pair of field goals to get back within two points.

The remainder of the first half was tightly contested throughout, as sophomore guard Kendall Jacks scored nine points while going 4-6 from the field for the Wildcats. Doyle led Northern State in scoring at halftime with nine points as well. The Wolves led at halftime 31-29.

The second half started off with Doyle converting a layup extending the Wolves’ lead to four. Junior forward Jordan Cornelius knocked down a three-pointer to make the score 33-32. A foul shortly thereafter by Janssen proved to be the turning point of the second half. The Wolves did not surrender the lead for the remainder of the game.

Redshirt freshman guard Luke TerHark scored a game high 16 points, had two assists and two steals in 28 minutes of playing time. Just behind TerHark in scoring was Jacks, who scored 15 points in 33 minutes of play.

The performance of the game went to Northern State’s Logan Doyle, who made eight out of ten field goal attempts scoring 23 points and recording five blocks. DJ Pollard was right behind Doyle in scoring with eight points, two blocks, and one steal in 36 minutes of playing time. The Wolves improved to 12-5 on the season and WSC fell to 5-12.

The Wildcats were right back in action Saturday evening against MSU Moorhead.

MSU Moorhead had an eight-point advantage at one point in the first half, but the Wildcats fought back quickly and efficiently. With 8:12 left, Kendall Jacks knocked down a three-pointer that erased the Dragons’ eight-point lead. The rest of the first half remained close, and it was 42-42 going into halftime.

The Wildcats looked as if they had turned the tides with the Wolves as the ‘Cats led by as many as eight points with 11:03 left in the game. The Wolves mounted a comeback and tied the game at 69 each when Aaron Lien made a field goal with 8:40 left.

The Wolves regained the lead after Johnny Beeninga knocked down two free throws following a Jacks foul with 7:40 left to play. WSC tied the game 73-73 with 7:13 left, but the Wolves ran away with the game after a foul on freshman center Tony Bonner resulted in one successful free throw by Tanner Kretchman with a little over seven minutes left in regulation.

Jacks led the Wildcats, making 10-14 field goal attempts for 28 points. Followed by Jacks was Jordan Cornelius, who had 18 points and one steal. MSU Moorhead’s Aaron Lien led both teams going 9-11 from the field with 32 points, two assists and two steals.

Both games were the first two played after the winter break for WSC students. The ‘Cats picked up wins over William Jewell (79-52) on Dec. 19 and Concordia St. Paul (71-51) on Jan. 6. However, the ‘Cats did lose three games over winter break to Sioux Falls (64-58) on Dec. 30, Southwest Minnesota State (85-73) on Dec. 31 and Minnesota State (87-78) on Jan. 7.

The Wildcats take to the court Jan. 20 against the Winona State Warriors in Winona, Minn. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.