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Free throws key to DSU's win over Western

Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State junior Anthony Hodges, left, chases a loose ball against Montana Western junior Jake Owsley on Saturday afternoon during a Frontier Conference men's basketball game at Scott Gymnasium as Dickinson State's, back left to right, Philip Johnson Jr., Jarek Hansen and Brock Boos chase the play along with Western's Gabe Rucker, bottom left.

An opportunity presented itself Saturday afternoon and the Dickinson State took full advantage.

Two technical fouls on Montana Western in the final minutes opened the door for the Blue Hawks to end a three-game Frontier Conference skid.

DSU shot 15 of 18 from the free-throw line in the final 4 minutes, 4 seconds to pull away from the Bulldogs for an 83-71 victory on Saturday afternoon at Scott Gymnasium.

"That really helps when we can step up to the line and hit some free throws and it keeps our confidence high," DSU head coach Ty Orton said.

In a game that had all the makings of a fight to the finish, the tide turned completely to DSU's favor after Western junior forward Jake Owsley and head coach Steve Keller were each whistled for technical fouls within a minute and a half.

Owsley's came after he had already fouled out with 4:04 to play and Keller, who had numerous heated conversations with officials in the second half, was tapped with 2:33 remaining.

From the first technical to the next, DSU (10-13, 3-5 Frontier) increased its three-point lead to 72-63 and kept pouring it on down the stretch.

Senior James Hayden got to the free-throw line most often, going 11 of 12. He and senior John Hanstad each scored 19 points.

"When those technicals came up, we knew it was crucial to make those free throws and really put 'em away," Hayden said. "That again is where the senior leadership comes in. We did a great job of nailing them and stomping on them and finishing the game out strong."

Hanstad did his part on the perimeter. He was 7 of 12 from the field with three of his makes and all of his misses coming from 3-point range.

Senior Johnie Sanders added 14 points, scoring eight of the team's first 11.

"Johnie stepped up and did things, hitting his shot, but he didn't try to do too much," Orton said. "John played a smart game. It wasn't just a 3-point game. It was an inside-out game. Our guards are penetrating better and slowing down. The game is starting to slow down, at least it did this game."

Senior Jarek Hansen, who didn't score for the first time this season in Thursday's loss to Westminster College, was back in the groove too. He scored 16 points, going 6 of 8 from the free-throw line.

DSU shot 24 of 50 (48 percent) from the field and finished 25 of 33 (76 percent) from the free-throw line.

"They came out and shot the ball really well the first half," Keller said. "They played great. If they play like that all the time when they're here, they're going to beat some people."

DSU broke out to a 20-9 lead in the first 7 minutes of the game after Hansen hit back-to-back 3-pointers.

But Western came flying back, trimming the lead down to five before DSU got rolling again.

Hanstad hit a 3-pointer and Phillip Johnson Jr. went to work in the post, scoring six of his nine points in the final 2 minutes to help the Blue Hawks maintain a 42-34 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs (15-7, 5-4 Frontier) wouldn't go away though, trimming DSU's lead all the way down to one, 52-51, after sophomore Jordan Overstreet's drive to the basket resulted in a three-point play.

Robbie Morey responded with a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired a couple of possessions later and got the Blue Hawks back on track.

The game stayed close until Western's technicals helped DSU break the game open.

With the women's team winning earlier in the day, DSU picked up its first men's and women's conference home game sweep since beating South Dakota Mines on Feb. 18, 2011, in a Dakota Athletic Conference contest.

"Its huge," Orton said. "It means we're still in the hunt for some things. The kids, they've had so much adversity this year. The way they played tonight is just phenomenal. They showed that they're never going to quit, no matter what the situation is and they did a great job."

MONTANA WESTERN (15-7, 5-4 Frontier): Maazin Butler 7-12 0-2 17, Gabe Rucker 2-6 2-2 8, Jake Owsley 2-5 1-1 5, Jordan Overstreet 2-10 6-7 11, Kris Castro 4-9 2-4 11, Kris Collins 5-9 0-0 11, Austin Mailey 0-0 0-0 0, Shyke Smalls 0-0 0-0 0, Connor Woodill 0-2 2-2 2, Tyler Miller 0-4 2-2 2, Vince Turk 1-2 0-0 2, Zach Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Grant Fink 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 15-22 71.

DICKINSON STATE (10-13, 3-5 Frontier): Johnie Sanders 5-9 2-4 14, Phillip Johnson Jr. 4-8 1-2 9, Robbie Morey 1-3 3-4 6, James Hayden 3-4 11-12 19, John Hanstad 7-12 2-3 19, Ty Ackelson 0-2 0-0 0, Anthony Hodges 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Brock Boos 0-3 0-0 0, Isiah Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Jarek Hansen 4-8 6-8 16, Jeremy Samuelson 0-0 0-0 0, Destry Sterkel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 25-33 83.

Halftime: DSU 42-34. Total fouls: UMW 27, DSU 21. Fouled out: Butler, Owsley, Collins. Technical fouls: UMW, Jake Owsley, coach Steve Keller; 3-point goals: UMW 10-29 (Butler 3-6, Rucker 2-4, Overstreet 1-7, Castro 1-3, Collins 3-7, Woodill 0-1, Miller 0-1), DSU 10-24 (Sanders 2-2, Morey 1-3, Hayden 2-2, Hanstad 3-8, Hodges 0-1, Boos 0-3, Hansen 2-5). Rebounds: UMW 33 (Turk 8), DSU 37 (Hayden 7). Assists: UMW 8 (Castro 3), DSU 11 (Hodges 3). Steals: UMW 6 (Butler 2), DSU 3 (three with 1). Blocks: UMW 1 (Owsley 1), DSU 0. Turnovers: UMW 10 (three with 2), DSU 11 (Sanders 3).

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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