Men’s basketball falls twice in overtime in final home games


Alexander Retzlaff

Benjamin Dentlinger keeps an eye on Concordia player while on defense.

Austin Svehla, Online/Social Media Editor

In its final home games of the season, the Wayne State men’s basketball team was defeated in heartbreaking fashion on two consecutive nights last weekend at Rice Auditorium, falling to Concordia-St. Paul 93-89 last Friday and upended by Minnesota State-Mankato 72-70 Saturday. This drops the Wildcats’ record to 10-19 on the season and 7-13 in NSIC competition.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, featuring five ties and six lead changes. The Wildcats took a 19-17 lead with 8:09 left in the first half on a Nate Thayer fast break bucket. WSC did not surrender its lead the remainder of the half, leading by as many as five on multiple occasions.

Nick Ferrarini’s layup with 2:07 remaining put WSC up 31-26. That lead was cut to two points in the final two-plus minutes of the half, and the Wildcats took a 34-32 lead into the break.

Ferrarini hit a two-point jumper on WSC’s first possession in the second half, but the Golden Bears responded with an 8-0 run to take a 40-36 lead. From there, the second half followed a similar theme as the first, with both teams trading buckets throughout the game’s final 17-plus minutes.

CSP took a 75-69 lead with 2:24 left in regulation, but a clutch 3-pointer from Ferrarini, a three-point play from Jordan Janssen and a layup from Al’Tavius Jackson over WSC’s next three possessions knotted the game at 77 apiece with 90 seconds remaining.

Jackson converted on a fast break layup with :51 remaining, but CSP’s Cody Carlson tied the game on the ensuing Golden Bear possession. Both teams failed to score on their final possessions to send the game overtime.

WSC shot 53 percent in the second half opposed to just 38 percent in the first half.

“At half time we kept encouraging each other to keep shooting,” freshman Isiah Burd said. “We knew our shots would fall if we kept shooting with confidence.”

The Wildcats held the lead through the first 2:30 of overtime, but a CSP layup with :45 left, handed WSC an 87-86 deficit. A missed jumper from Ben Dentlinger forced the Wildcats to foul, and the Golden Bears hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the 93-89 overtime win.

Ferrarini and Jackson each scored 22 points to lead WSC while Janssen added 16 of his own. The Wildcats shot 44.6 percent from the field on the night.

WSC welcomed MSU-Mankato to Rice on Saturday, with the Wildcats looking to secure the season sweep of the Mavericks after snapping a 14-game losing streak to Mankato dating back to 2014 after a 73-71 win in Mankato on Jan. 24.

The first nine minutes of the half saw both teams trade buckets, and the game was tied at 14-14 at the 11:25 mark. Ferrarini hit a pair of free throws and Nate Mohr sunk a deep 3-pointer to give WSC a 19-14 advantage with 8:19 left in the half.

The Mavericks then closed the half on a 16-4 run to take a 30-23 lead into halftime.

WSC did not find themselves cutting into the Maverick lead until there was 8:53 remaining in the game. Down 47-37, WSC got two made free throws from Jackson, an and-one bucket from Janssen and 3-pointers from Jackson and Ferrarini to tie the game at 47 apiece with just under seven minutes to play in regulation.

From there, both teams started trading buckets similarly to the start of the game, and Mankato held a 61-59 lead with less than 30 seconds to play.

Mohr missed a jumper with :07 left but Janssen corralled the miss immediately and converted on the put-back to tie the game at 61-61. Mankato’s Landon Wolfe missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Wildcats were forced to prepare for overtime for the second consecutive day.

Mankato scored the first seven points of the overtime period to give WSC an uphill climb. The Wildcats had an answer, going on a 7-0 run of their own.

Dentlinger had a slam dunk on one possession and a pair of free throws on another before Ferrarini drilled a 3-pointer with :40 left to tie the game at 68-68.

A converted jumper from Corvon Seales put the Mavericks back in front by two. WSC failed to capitalize on the ensuing possession and Seales knocked down a pair of free throws with :06 remaining to seal the Mankato victory.

Janssen scored on a dunk as time expired, but it was too little, too late for the Wildcats in a second consecutive gut-wrenching defeat.

The Wildcats held the Mavericks to just 37.9 percent shooting, but WSC shot an underwhelming 29.6 percent (24-81) in the defeat.

“Mankato is a great team like any other team in this conference,” Burd said. “I think their size around the rim made it harder for us to make shots, but I think our defense kept us in the game. We played good team defense and kept playing hard.”

Wayne State enters the final weekend of the season sixth in the NSIC South division and will travel to Marshall, Minnesota, for a 7:30 p.m. matchup this Friday with Southwest Minnesota State before concluding its season on Saturday at Sioux Falls, with tipoff set for 5:30 p.m.

WSC is currently on a four-game losing streak and sees a chance to end its recent dry spell against two teams with different styles and records. SMSU is 7-19 overall and 4-16 in the NSIC while Sioux Falls is 20-6 and 16-4 in the conference.

“There were a lot of positives from last weekend, and we learned a lot about our team and we aren’t far off from winning games,” Burd said. “It’s tough to lose back-to-back home games in overtime but we will be better and prepared this weekend. We are looking forward to playing both of these teams and improving and hopefully be playing our best basketball to end the season.”

Alexander Retzlaff
Benjamin Dentlinger keeps an eye on Concordia player while on defense.