Wildcats sweep final home series

Asia Berg, Staff Writer

It was a slam dunk last weekend for Wildcat basketball.

Wayne State men’s basketball team won 73-50 over University of Sioux Falls on Friday. The score was tied at eight until the Cats’ scored nine points in three minutes to take the lead 17-10. The men’s team ended the first half 37-20.

The Wildcats held USF to 25 percent shooting in the first half while also forcing them to have 12 turnovers.

“I thought the guys did a good job executing our game plan, getting out pushing the tempo more. Friday night we took better care of the ball, I thought they did a good job defensively with pressure pushing them into 23 turnovers,” assistant coach Brett Putz said.

As the game continued into the second half, USF started closing the gap but only getting as close as 12 points at 47-35. Before the nine minute mark, the Wildcat’s continued to gain a lead by scoring the next nine points to make the score 56-35.

The Wildcats held USF to shooting 16 of 48 (33 percent) in the paint. Kendall Jacks led the Wildcats with 13 points, while Austin Esters and Jordan Cornelius followed with 12 points.

Saturday was another exhilarating night for the Wildcats over Southwest Minnesota. The men’s team started from behind only to come back and win it all 86-80.

The Wildcats started off the night by trailing up until 7:48. The Cats’ quickly came together to get a 14-2 run over SMSU within 3:96 to take the lead by 29-28. Before the men went to the locker room, they ended the first half leading 32-30.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how we battled back from a slow start against Southwest. We played much more consistent after that stretch and weren’t up and down like we have been in the past,” Putz said.

The Wildcats came out ready to go in the second half, by continuing to get a lead of 43-36 over SMSU. The Cats’ kept pushing in the final four minutes to keep their lead by making 14 of 16 free throws with 2:24 left in the game.

The Wildcats had a season high, 30-36 from the free throw line, which helped them win over SMSU.

The Wildcats will end their NSIC regular season this weekend, Friday at Winona State at 8 p.m. and at Upper Iowa Saturday at 6 p.m.

“They are going to be really tough games. Winona is a really good team at home, they struggle a little bit on the road this year, but they are still a very talented basketball team,” Putz said. “We will have to be ready to play in both games this weekend to have a chance to win.”

Wayne State 73, Sioux Falls 50
Wayne State…………….. 37 36 – 73
Sioux Falls………………. 20 30 – 50
Wayne State: Jacks 13, Esters 12, Cornelius 12, VandeBerg 11, Kurth 7, Heesch 6, Holdsworth 5, Burneika 4, Zumbrennen 3. Sioux Falls: Wessels 9, Kielpinski 8, M. Johnson 7, K. Johnson 6, Aase 6, Lawson 5, Stotts 5, Poe 3, Finneman 1.

Wayne State 86, SMSU 80
Wayne State …………………32 54 – 86
Southwest Minnesota……..30 50 – 80
Wayne State: Cornelius 19, Jacks 16, Kurth 10, Zumbrennen 8, VandeBerg 8, Holdsworth 7, Nagy 6, Esters 6, Ross 4, Heesch 2.
Southwest Minnesota: Moen 25, Martin 20, Weg 19, Delmore 8, Meinders 4, Bartlett 2, Kirk 2.