Moorhead uses second half comeback to end WSC’s season

Austin Svehla, Online/Social Media Editor

A nine-point halftime lead for the Wayne State men’s basketball team was not sufficient to keep Minnesota State-Moorhead from posting a second-half comeback and eliminating the Wildcats from the NSIC Tournament in the first round in Moorhead, Minnesota. The 69-65 Dragon victory ended the Wildcats’ season at 10-22.

WSC entered the conference tournament as the NSIC South’s No. 6 seed, pairing the Wildcats with the North’s No. 3 MSU-Moorhead.

Wayne State jumped to a 12-4 lead out of the gates 4:20 into the game. Nick Ferrarini hit a pair of 3-pointers and a two-point jumper, and Al’Tavius Jackson converted on a pair of jumpers to combine for the first 12 points for WSC.

The Dragons tied the game at 26-26 with 7:08 remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats sprinted to the end of the half on a 14-5 run to take a 40-31 lead into the locker room.

The Wildcats shot an impressive 17-30 (56.5 percent) from the field in the first half but were just 2-9 (22.2 percent) from behind the arc.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 10 (47-37) by the 17:41 mark of the second half, but Moorhead went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to tie the game at 47 apiece.

WSC responded to the Dragon run with a run of its own, going on a 9-2 run over the next 5:18. Ben Dentlinger hit a short jumper, Nate Mohr hit a 3, Jordan Janssen hit a shot in the paint and Dentlinger added another of his own to help WSC to a 56-49 lead with 8:29 left.

A Nathan Rund 3-pointer for Moorhead tied the game at 59-59 with six-plus minutes remaining before each team went relatively cold offensively until less than a minute remained in regulation. The Wildcats went 1-5 shooting and turned the ball over three times, scoring just three points in a nearly six-minute span.

With the score at 62-62 and :37 remaining, Moorhead’s Dane Zimmer scored on a layup to give the Dragons a two-point lead. Janssen missed on a jumper in the paint on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession.

A pair of Dragon free throws with :21 left gave Moorhead a 66-62 lead, and after another empty WSC possession, Moorhead’s Bryce Irsfeld iced the game with two more free throws with :05 left in the game.

Mohr hit a 3-ball a second later, but it was too little, too late for WSC, and the Wildcats suffered a 69-65 loss.

Jackson, along with Obi Patrick and Prince Chukwuma, suited up for the Wildcats for the final time. Minus Jackson, WSC will return each of its starters next season.