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Griffins fly past Blue Hawks

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State senior guard Robbie Morey, left, shoots a 3-pointer in front of the DSU student section during a Frontier Conference game against Westminster College (Utah) on Thursday at Scott Gymnasium.

If the Dickinson State men’s basketball team has proven one thing this season, it can compete with any team in the Frontier Conference.

But the Blue Hawks’ Achilles heel has been exposed and they can’t finish out halves.

Westminster College (Utah) beat the Blue Hawks 84-78 in a conference game on Thursday at Scott Gymnasium.

“We’re so close,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “These kids are working their tails off, they’re doing everything they can and we had such a new team on the floor they’re not used to the grind. We just got to fight through it, that’s anything in life. You got to fight through the adversity.”

Senior guard Ty Ackelson added: “We’re improving, we’re right there in every single game we played. We just got to execute.”

Thursday’s game was also Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and sneakers night, where DSU teamed up with the American Cancer Society for cancer awareness.

With 4 minutes, 5 seconds left, DSU senior guard Robbie Morey drained a long 3-pointer to cut the Griffins’ lead down to just two, 70-68. However, Westminster maintained its lead throughout the game.

DSU threatened to take the lead with 2:59 left as junior guard Tevin Russell sank both his free throw shots to make it 79-77. But the Blue Hawks couldn’t hang on and another win slipped out of their grasp.

Three Blue Hawks finished in double-digits with Ackelson leading with 20 points, followed by Morey — who went 5 for 5 beyond the arc — with 19 and Russell with 15.

“We just need to come out and execute better from the beginning,” Morey said. “We had our moments, but we gave them too many second chances down the stretch and that’s what ended up killing us.”

DSU and Westminster wasted no time getting into the game. Just 24 seconds in, senior Blake Skidmore — finished with a game-high 25 points — hit a 3-pointer for the Griffins but Ackelson quickly responded with a 3-pointer of his own, and scored DSU’s first eight points of the game.

Both teams kept the energy high and traded leads until senior Isiah Thomas hit his shot in the paint with 12:47 left in the first half, which put DSU up 17-16. DSU would extend its lead to eight after free-throw shots by junior guard Juston Goodwin, but the Griffins chipped away at their deficit with seven unanswered points and outscoring DSU to take the 44-42 lead at halftime.

“I don’t think we’re focused,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “We just kind of played the game, we weren’t ready. We knew exactly what they were going to do but I don’t think we were prepared for it and focused. But you turn around and you look at Robbie’s performance, you look at how Ty started the game.

“I thought some guys played really well but on the defense side we gave up 84 points and that’s bad.”

DSU has another shot at a conference win as the team hosts Montana-Western at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s a tough conference. It’s one of those things where you have to show up every night because if you don’t you’re going to get beat,” Morey said. “We have to keep working, go back to work (today) and get ready for Western.”

WESTMINSTER (12-9, 5-3 Conference): Quincy Blair 3-7 2-2 8, Tallon Robertson 10-16 4-9 24, Nick Jenson 5-7 2-2 12, Colton Moon 2-5 0-0 5, Blake Skidmore 9-16 4-4 25, Jordan Pryor 2-5 1-2 6, Casey Evans 0-0 2-2 2, Adam Egan 0-0 2-7 2. Totals: 31-56 17-28 84.

DICKINSON STATE (7-13, 2-6 Conference): Ty Ackelson 6-12 5-6 20, Brock Boos 0-2 0-0 0, Isiah Thomas 2-3 0-0 4, Tevin Russell 5-14 4-4 15, Mackenson Odenier 3-5 2-2 8, Jeremy Beehler 0-1 0-0 0, Juston Goodwin 3-5 1-1 7, Robbie Morey 5-7 4-7 19, DeSean Atkins 2-5 0-0 5, Marko Potkonjak 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Volk 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 26-58, 16-20 78.

Halftime: 44-42. Total fouls: WC 20, DSU 23. 3-point goals: WC 5-13 (Moon 1-3, Skidmore 3-7, Pryor 1-3), DSU 10-20 (Ackelson 3-6, Boos 0-1, Russell 1-5, Goodwin 0-1, Morey 5-5, Atkins 1-2). Rebounds: WC 29 (Jenson 7), DSU 36 (Odenier 9). Assists: WC 10 (Moon 4), DSU 11 (Russell 6). Steals: WC 12 (Bair, Robertson 2), DSU 7 (Russell 2). Blocks: WC 1 (Pryor), DSU 1 (Russell). Turnovers: WC 10 (Jenson 4), DSU 18 (Russell, Odenier 4).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.