Wayne State Basketball Teams Rally on Saturday, Combine for 4-0 Record This Past Weekend

Nate Bope, Sports Writer

The Wayne State College basketball teams amassed a combined 4-0 over Thanksgiving weekend.  

Each team travelled out of state and swept their competition at each team’s respective Thanksgiving invitationals. The women’s team improved to 4-1 while the men’s team moved to 6-1. 

The Wildcats’ women’s team travelled to Grand Junction, Colorado. On Friday, they faced the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks and rolled to a 90-60 win in a game where they never trailed.  

Wayne State shot 52.4% from the field and 46.7% from behind the three-point line against the Skyhawks. Senior Guard Lauren Zacharias led the way in scoring with a career-high 37 points in only 22 minutes.  

Sophomore Forward Delaney Clark was the only other Wildcat player to hit double figures, scoring 14 points.  

On Saturday, the Wildcats played the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks. After facing a 24-point deficit, they would rally to come back and win the game 62-59.  

In the first half, Wayne State shot only 28% from the field and entered the locker room down 43-22 at halftime.  

The Mavericks came out of halftime and scored three more points to make the score 46-22, early in the third quarter.  

Immediately afterward, Wayne State went on a 13-0 run to close the gap to 46-35.  

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats traded some great defensive possessions for buckets on the other end, eventually tying the game at 57 with 1:56 left to play.  

Senior Forward Kassidy Pingel hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:04 left to play to put the Wildcats up 59-57. Subsequent free throws from Zacharias sealed the comeback win.  

Aiding the comeback effort was poor shooting from the Mavericks, who shot only four of 23 points from the field in the second half. Leading the way against Colorado Mesa was Zacharias with 17 points, giving her a total of 54 from the weekend.  

Pingel, who hit the go-ahead bucket, had 15 points and Junior Guard Annie Guentzel had 12.  

As for the Wildcat men, they travelled to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Eckard Thanksgiving Classic. 

On Friday, the Wildcats faced off with the University of Tampa Spartans. The Spartans made a comeback effort late in the second half, but the Wildcats would hold on for a 72-63 win. WSC got hot late in the first half, going on a 9-2 run to end the half.  

The guys held the lead at halftime with a score of 34-22. More solid shooting gave Wayne State a 64-49 lead with 5:42 left to play. The Spartans then went on a 14-4 run to close the gap to just five.  

However, after a layup from senior Forward Jordan Janssen and two free throws from fifth year Guard Nick Ferrarini, Wayne secured the win.  

Four Wildcats hit double figures, including sophomore Guard Justin Eagins and fifth-year Guard Nate Mohr with 17 points each, and Janssen and sophomore Guard Jay Saunders each with 10. The team shot 50% from three, going 13-for-26. 

The Saturday game then came against the Eckard College Tritons. The Wildcats found themselves behind the 8-ball at halftime after some hot shooting from the Tritons, who shot 63% in the first half to take a 48-32 lead.  

The Wildcats used a big second half to steal the game away from Eckard, as the Wildcats shot 6-for-9 from the three point line in the second half to win 89-87.  

After halftime, the Wildcats started off the second half on a 25-8 run to take a 57-56 lead. From this point forward, both teams had some mini runs, coupled with lots of back-and-forth play.  

The two teams battled all game long, but it was the Wildcats that eventually pulled out the win. Four players hit double figures. Janssen led the way with 25 points, Eagins had 18, Mohr had 17, and sophomore Forward Cody McCullough had 12.  

Both teams travel to Sioux Falls to play the University of Sioux Falls Cougars on Thursday, Dec. 1. On Saturday, Dec. 3, they return to Rice Auditorium to face off with the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs.