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The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

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Men’s basketball pushes Bulldogs to brink in OT loss

The Wayne State College men’s basketball team went 1-1 this past weekend with a dominate 79-57 win against the Concordia St. Paul Golden Bears on Friday, Feb. 2 and lost a thrilling overtime game 79-78 against the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb 3. 

The results from this weekend move the Wildcats overall record to 13-10 on the season, with a 6-10 record in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. The Wildcats currently stand in tenth in the conference standings. 

Friday matched WSC up with CSP. Coming into this matchup, the Wildcats and Golden Bears were both fighting to improve their standings in the NSIC.  

The first half was a back-and-forth affair early on, as the first six minutes saw five lead changes, with great offensive and defensive play, but ultimately led to CSP taking an early 13-11 lead. The lead grew to six after the next two possessions, and CSP did enough to keep the Wildcats at arm’s length to the 8:31 mark on the half, holding a 21-15 lead. 

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The Wildcats were able to tie the game at 21 apiece over the next three minutes, but the Golden Bears stormed right back, almost immediately regaining their six-point lead and the extended it to eight, as they commanded a 32-24 advantage. The Wildcats closed the half on an 11-3 run, with all 11 points coming courtesy of senior forward Cody McCullough and Alec Millender, including a buzzer beating three at the end of the half from redshirt-sophomore guard to give the Wildcats a 36-35 lead at the half.  

As the second half began, WSC took an even firmer grip of their lead, going on a 15-2 run over the opening 6:47 of the half. The scoreboard read 51-37 with 13:13 on the clock, and the Wildcats refused to hold back. The lead ballooned to 20 by the halfway point of the half, and the Wildcats controlled the game from this point on, with the score being 79-57 after the final buzzer. 

Millender led the way with 18 points and sophomore guard David Harmon followed closely behind with 16. McCullough and junior forward Trey Deveaux each contributed 13 in the winning effort. 

Saturday’s matchup against the Bulldogs from Minnesota Duluth was a thrilling contest from start to finish. The Wildcats sought revenge after the preseason NSIC Player of the Year in the fifth year senior guard Drew Blair and the Bulldogs beat them earlier in the season in Duluth, 

The Wildcats began the game on a 9-0 run, using the momentum from the win the previous night. UMD tried to battle back, but the Wildcats were able to keep them at bay, extending the lead to 10 points with the scoreboard reading 21-11 with 10:07 to go in the half. 

The Bulldogs started to find their rhythm, ripping off a 9-0 of their own over the next four minutes to cut the lead to one. The teams began to trade buckets, but WSC held firmly in the lead. 

The turning point came with the score at a 32-29 WSC lead with 51 seconds to play in the half. After a McCullough foul which sent senior forward Charlie Katona to the free throw line for the Bulldogs, Elijah Watson got called for a technical foul trying to sub in the game, giving Duluth two more free throws. All four of the free throws were made, leading to Duluth taking the one-point advantage, and the Bulldogs extended it to three before the halftime. The halftime score read 35-32. 

Entering the second half of play, with the momentum swinging the favor of Duluth, WSC brought it back on their side, taking a quick three-point lead after a short 6-0 run to open the half. Duluth answered with a 6-0 run of their won and the race was one. The two sides traded everything from baskets and runs to rebounds and turnovers. No team led by more than four points in the half, and with 46 seconds left, the two sides found themselves deadlocked at 70. Deveaux knocked down two free throws for WSC and Blair knocked a pair down for UMD to level it at 72. Millender missed a potential game winner with five seconds left and Blair missed a game winning three at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime. 

The see-sawing action continued into the overtime period. The Bulldogs came out hot and quickly put the Wildcats in a four-point hole. The Wildcats answered the bell by going on yet another mini 6-0 run to take the lead 78-76 with 2:17 to go. A Millender foul led to Katona leveling the game from the charity stripe with 1:57 to play. Katona hit another free throw with 1:07 to go after missing his first to give the Bulldogs a one-point lead. The next possession for Duluth saw Blair run an isolation set, to which he shot a three-pointer that went way off target, with Deveaux grabbing the rebound. Millender and McCullough each put up shots in the final seconds, and after the two team were battling for the loose ball with mere seconds left, the clock expired and solidified a 79-78 win for the Bulldogs in thrilling fashion. 

The Wildcats are on the road this upcoming weekend, facing off with the fifth-ranked Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks on Friday, Feb. 9 and the Winona State Warriors on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

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Nate Bope, Sports Writer
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