Men’s basketball wins one and looses one

Photo by Joel Johnson

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

The Wayne State Men’s Basketball team went one for two this past weekend, beating Winona State University on Friday night and falling short to Upper Iowa University on Saturday night.

In the first of the two home contests, Wayne State pulled off a 69-67 win.

Junior guard Vance Janssen said it was important that the ’Cats win this game after two road losses the previous weekend.

“We needed a win against Winona to stay in contention for a home conference tournament game,” said Janssen.

The Wildcats started the game strong, taking an 18-12 lead early in the game.

With WSC still in front of the Winona State Warriors 20-15, Winona State held the ’Cats to just two baskets over the next 8:45. The Warriors turned a five-point deficit into a seven-point advantage, making the score 34-27 before junior guard Kendall Jacks closed the first half with a three-point play to cut the Warrior lead to just 34-31 at the half.

“In the first half we needed to come out and be physical and set the tone, and that was a challenge for us,” said Janssen.

The ’Cats had a slow start in the second half as Winona State built a 48-36 lead with 14:39 remaining in the contest. However, that didn’t stop WSC from battling back to take a 53-52 lead on a Jacks 3-pointer with just over seven minutes remaining.

With the score tied 59-59, the Warriors used a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to take a 64-59 lead with just over two-and-a-half minutes to play.

“We got behind and really had to adjust our pace for the second half of the game,” said Janssen.

Senior forward Jordan Cornelius then scored five straight points on a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer with 25 seconds to play, giving WSC a 66-64 lead.

Jacks followed with two free throws with nine seconds left to give the ’Cats the 68-64 lead. Winona State then hit a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to cut the Wildcat lead to one at 68-67.

Jacks was then fouled on the inbounds pass and made one of two free throws with two seconds to play, making the final score 69-67.

Junior guard Trevin Joseph put up 19 points for the Wildcats while Jacks contributed 15 for the win.

The Wildcats then turned around to face the Upper Iowa University Peacocks the following day.

“We had a pretty big game the night before, so we needed to come out with a lot of energy and not have any let downs,” said Janssen.

The Peacocks drained 11 of their 16 attempts from behind the 3-point line to give them the 84-76 win over the Wildcats.

Wayne State’s only two leads of the first half were 7-4 following a Janssen 3-pointer and at 9-7 on a Jacks layup five minutes into the contest.

Upper Iowa then went on a 15-4 run to take the 22-13 lead and build their first double-digit lead of the night at 26-16 with just under seven minutes to play in the first half.

The Peacocks then pushed their lead to 40-23 with just under a minute to play before halftime, but WSC closed the half strong, cutting the deficit to 41-31 on 3-pointer from senior guard JJ Zumbrennen with two seconds before the halftime intermission.

Wayne State still trailed by double digits early in the second half, but the ’Cats made a strong run at the Peacocks to take their only lead of the second half at the midway point.

WSC’s first basket of the second half was an alley-oop dunk to Jacks, giving him 1,000 career points. Jacks is the 32nd player in school history to reach the milestone mark.

UIU took its biggest lead of the second half at 47-33 with just over 18 minutes remaining. The ’Cats battled back to force the game’s fifth and final tie at 54-54 on a layup from sophomore center Tony Bonner.

WSC took its only lead of the second half on the next possession with a layup from Jacks to give the Wildcats a 56-54 lead.

“In the second half of the game, we played much harder than we did in the first half, which helped us to get back into the game,” said Janssen. “But our communication on defense wasn’t the best and we needed to be more consistent throughout the entire game.

The Peacocks used 3-pointers to regain the lead for good as UIU sank numerous 3-pointers to take an 11-point lead at 75-64 with 3:26 remaining.

WSC got as close as six at 78-72 with 46 seconds to play before the Peacocks closed with the 84-76 win.

Jacks led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points and now has 1,011 in his Wildcat career. Janssen added 17 while Joseph contributed an additional 10.

The Wildcats will be at home again this upcoming weekend, hosting St. Cloud State Friday night at 8 p.m. and Minnesota Duluth Saturday for a 6 p.m. contest.