The Wayne Stater

Hot shooting victimizes Wildcat men in two-game weekend homestand

Austin Svehla, Reporter

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The Wayne State men’s basketball team came away winless in a pair of games at Rice Auditorium this past weekend, falling to St. Cloud State on Friday and Minnesota Duluth on Saturday. The two defeats brought WSC’s record to 17-7 on the season and 12-6 in NSIC play, which is a tie for first place in the NSIC South.

SCSU scored the first five points of the game on Friday, but WSC quickly responded with a 14-0 run over a five-minute span to gain a 14-5 advantage with 13:17 remaining in the first half. Jordan Janssen tipped a missed layup from Nick Ferrarini to put the ’Cats on the board. Trevin Joseph followed with a layup of his own after another offensive rebound, then Janssen had layups on each of the Wildcats’ next two possessions. Joseph converted two more layups and Kendall Jacks had one of his own to give the Wildcats a nine-point advantage.

Offensive rebounding was the key early on for WSC, who grabbed four offensive boards in the game’s first six-plus minutes. 

“One of the things coach [Kaminsky] talks about a lot is rebounding,” Jacks said. “If we’re able to outrebound teams, we have a pretty good chance at winning, so that’s pretty important for us.”

The Huskies slowly cut away at the Wildcat lead through the course of the next six minutes, grabbing a 23-21 lead at the 7:33 mark of the first half. Vance Janssen put the Wildcats right back in front on a 3-pointer at the 7:16 mark.

A Jordan Janssen layup gave WSC a 34-32 lead, only to be answered by a layup from SCSU’s Gave Davis with 2:17 remaining. The next two possessions followed a similar theme, as Janssen converted another layup which was answered by a jumper from Davis. A 3-pointer from Ferrarini and a three-point play from Vance Janssen gave the ’Cats a 42-38 advantage with 20 seconds left in the half, and a Husky layup from Davis made it a 42-40 score at the half.

“I was a little disappointed with our defensive effort,” head coach Jeff Kaminsky said. “Obviously, St. Cloud is a really talented team with definitely the most gifted player offensively in the league in Gage Davis. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have much of an answer for him Friday night.”

Davis was a thorn in the side of the Wildcat defense, as he managed 21 points in the first half.

Through the first 2:11 of the second half, the score was tied at 44 apiece. At this point, SCSU took control, pulling off a 13-3 run over the next 2:45 to hand WSC a 57-47 deficit with 15:04 remaining in the game.

A 3-pointer from Joseph cut the Wildcat deficit to eight before Davis scored five straight and Diamond Onwuka had a 3-pointer for SCSU to make it a 68-54 game with 11:28 left. SCSU grabbed their largest lead of the game at 77-60 after a pair of free throws from Davis with 7:18 lingering.

A three ball from Vance Janssen got the Wildcats within as little as 10 with 1:34 left, but the takeover from Gage Davis in the second half proved to be too much for WSC to overcome late, resulting in a 91-79 defeat for the ’Cats.

“It turned out to be a combination where for us to win a game like that, unfortunately we had to match what they were doing,” Kaminsky said. “We just didn’t make enough plays on the offensive end to keep ourselves in the game where we had a shot to win it in the end.”

Jordan Janssen led the way with 20 points on 10-14 shooting, Jacks scored 18, Vance Janssen had 15 and Joseph notched 13 of his own. WSC shot 52.5% on the evening, opposed to SCSU’s 56.9%. Davis scored 46 points on 18-25 shooting to lead the way for the Huskies. The loss dropped the ’Cats to 17-6 (12-5 NSIC).

Saturday’s first half was tightly contested throughout, with five ties and six lead changes through the game’s first 20 minutes. Much like Friday’s game, WSC was active early and often in the paint. The ’Cats got on the board courtesy of a Jacks layup 15 seconds into the game. Jacks converted on another layup followed by a layup from Ferrarini to even the score at 6-6 with 17:11 remaining in the half.

“I thought we had a fairly good mentality in terms of attacking the basket,” Kaminsky said.

A 3-point play from Jordan Janssen gave the Wildcats a 14-10 advantage before the Bulldogs went on a 9-2 run to take a 19-16 lead at the 11:14 mark. Both teams went back-and-forth over the next 5:08, resulting in a 26-26 score with 6:06 remaining in the first half.

At this point, WSC went on a 9-4 run to earn their largest lead of the half at 35-30. Jordan Janssen converted on a layup and a dunk, Joseph had a layup, and Jacks nailed a three to give the ’Cats a five-point advantage with just over two minutes left in the half. The Bulldogs came within as little as a point with :24 remaining, but Joseph knocked down a three-pointer with one second left to give WSC a 40-36 lead at halftime.

WSC shot an impressive 18-32 (56.3%) from the field in the first half while Duluth posted a 60% shooting mark (15-25). Despite the Bulldogs outshooting the Wildcats through the first 20 minutes, WSC held an advantage in points off turnovers (11-4) and points in the paint (26-20).

Duluth started the second half in an impressive manner, scoring the first seven points to hand WSC a 43-40 deficit at the 18:05 mark. The Wildcats pulled even on a Ferrarini jumper and free throw, but the Bulldogs went on another run over the next 4:01, outscoring WSC 8-1 for a 51-44 lead.

“We went a little cold in the second half and we weren’t able to hit some of the shots we normally make,” Jacks said. “It’s just one of those games where sometimes some things don’t always go your way.”

The Wildcats chipped away as the game progressed, cutting the deficit to as little as four the remainder of the second half. Every time the Wildcats gained momentum, however, the Bulldogs stole that momentum and went on a run. With WSC down 55-51 at the 9:06 mark, Duluth again went on a run, as WSC’s only scoring came on three free throws from Jacks over the next 3:46.

With the ’Cats trailing 70-59 with 1:46 left, WSC had one last scoring spurt in them. A 3-point play from Ferrarini, followed by a Vance Janssen three-pointer and layup brought the Wildcats to within five with just over a minute remaining. After a Duluth free throw with :59 remaining, Jacks converted on another layup to make the score 73-69 with :43 left. WSC came up empty on three of their last four possessions while Duluth knocked down four of their last six free throws to put the game on ice. A 77-72 final dropped the ’Cats to 17-7 (12-6 NSIC).

“Even down the stretch when we had a chance to make a run at the end, we missed several opportunities,” Kaminsky said. “We had a situation in the second half where there were times where we have a decent look and didn’t finish, and [Duluth] would have a similar look and they’d make a play, and all of a sudden you find yourself a little separated.”

Four Wildcats achieved double figures in scoring for the second consecutive day. Jacks converted on 7 of 13 shots for 19 points while Jordan Janssen added 14. Vance Janssen had 12 points and Joseph had 11 of his own. Jacks became the sixth player in WSC history to score 1,500 career points.

“Honestly, right now I’m not too worried about numbers,” Jacks said. “We’ve got a long two weeks coming up. I’ll look back at the milestone at one point but right now I’m just focused on this season and trying to get as many wins as possible.”

With four games remaining in the regular season, the Wildcats have an identical conference record with NSIC South foe Minnesota State-Mankato at 12-6. WSC will travel to face Concordia-St. Paul on Friday evening and the aforementioned Mankato team on Saturday, in what could be a winner-take-all NSIC South Division matchup. Despite the high stakes game Saturday, each of the four games remaining is viewed equally as important as the others.

“We can’t come into the [Friday] game with that mindset,” Jacks said. “We know we have a tough matchup against Concordia-St. Paul, so we have to take care of business there first before we can think about Mankato.”

 

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About the Writer
Austin Svehla, Assistant Sports Editor

Austin Svehla is from Columbus, Nebraska and graduated from Scotus Central Catholic High School in 2016. He is currently a junior and is majoring in Electronic...

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Hot shooting victimizes Wildcat men in two-game weekend homestand