The student news site of Wayne State College

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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Wildcats draw Vikings in NSIC first round

The Wayne State College Wildcat men’s basketball team finished off to season with home wins against the Mary Marauders and Northern State Wolves to finish 16-13 on the year with a 9-13 record in conference play.

That record led the Wildcats to earn to 10th seed in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament. Technically, there was a three-way tie for 8th place with WSC, Sioux Falls and Bemidji State, but due to tiebreakers the Wildcats fell to 10th. WSC will meet the 7th place team, the Augustana Vikings, who finished with a record of 18-10 overall and a 13-9 record in NSIC play.

These two sides met back on Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Rice Auditorium where both teams put on an absolute shooting clinic. The Wildcats shot 52.5% from the field including an even 50% from beyond the three-point line. The Wildcats also shot 16-19 from the free-throw line.

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Despite this performance from the Wildcats, the Vikings won the game 101-88 while putting up even better numbers. Augustana shot 62.7% including 69.2% from three-point range and 28-31 from the free-throw line.

The Wildcats season was highlighted by many close games against the top four team in the conference. While the Wildcats didn’t pull off any true upsets, they fought hard in a lot of games that they inevitably ended up losing.

Junior forward Trey Deveaux, a Central Community College transfer, has been a great leader for the Wildcats this year. He leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds with 6.1 per game. Deveaux’s defense has also been a welcome edition to the Wildcat team, generating 21 steals and a team high 16 blocks during the regular season.

The Wildcats have also seen some impressive guard play this year. Redshirt-sophomore Alec Millender and sophomore David Harmon are the team’s second and third leading scorers, with Millender averaging 13.2 points per game and Harmon contributing 10.8 points per game off the bench. Junior Jay Saunders is the team’s facilitator, being second on the team in assists with 70 on the year. Freshman JJ Ferrin has stepped in as a three-point specialist, averaging 1.62 threes per game while shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats forwards have also put in work with Deveaux. Junior Cody McCullough leads the team in rebounds with 6.7 boards per game and leads the team with 65 offensive rebounds. He is also shooting an efficient 57.3% on the floor to lead the team in that category. Junior Elijah Watson has been a nice spark off the bench, averaging 5.9 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game while generating 14 steals and 10 blocks on the defensive end.

As a team, WSC shoots 46.6% from the field averaging 74.6 points per game. The Wildcats are outrebounding their opponents by a margin of 1.5 per game. Defensively, the Wildcats average opponents to score the fewest points per game in the NSIC, only allowing 67.7 points per game. They also lead the conference in steals per game with 7.03.

The team on the other side of the ball in the are led by one of the top scorers in the NSIC and across all of Division II in Isaac Fink. The graduate senior guard averages 20.9 points per game while shooting 48.4% from the floor, including 40% from three-point territory. He also is the Viking’s leading rebounder with 7.1 boards per game and has generated 22 steals and seven blocks defensively.

Jadan Graves, a senior guard and Fink’s partner in crime, is second in scoring with 14.7 points per game and leads the team in three-point percentage, shooting a whopping 47.6%, good for 7th in the country.

Augustana has also seen some freshmen step up and play big minutes for this team. Forward Caden Kirkman is third in scoring with 8.5 points per game and shoots a team high 58% from the field. Guard Arhman Lewis is fourth in scoring with 8.4 points per game and has contributed 13 steals with his defense.

The Vikings as a unit shoot 46.9% from the floor while averaging 81.3 points per game. They hold a 3.5 rebounding margin per game against their opponents. The Viking defense allows opponents to score 74.6 points per game, but they have forced opponents into 11.8 turnovers per game.

The Wildcats and Vikings are set to do battle on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m.

All information was gathered from wscwildcts.com as well as goaugie.com

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Nate Bope, Sports Writer
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