Rocky rallies in 2nd half to defeat Blue Hawks in their first Frontier gameRocky Mountain didn’t have its head coach and it didn’t have its best game. But it had just enough to beat Dickinson State on Wednesday night at Scott Gymnasium.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Rocky Mountain didn’t have its head coach and it didn’t have its best game. But it had just enough to beat Dickinson State on Wednesday night at Scott Gymnasium.
Don Parham’s lone 3-pointer of the game with less than 4 minutes to play gave the Bears the lead for good as turnovers and missed opportunities down the stretch devastated the Blue Hawks in their inaugural Frontier Conference men’s basketball game.
Parham scored 17 and Jeremy Nicholas had 22 points and 11 rebounds, including a 10-for-10 performance from the free-throw line, as Rocky held on for a 68-65 victory.
“We let this game slip,” said DSU junior guard Ty Ackelson, who scored a team-high 18 points. “We had this one won. We gave up way too many offensive rebounds and turnovers killed us.”
Parham’s trey put Rocky up 64-61. But, neither team scored again until Ackleson made a shot beneath the basket with 2:09 left, cutting the Bears’ lead to one.
Joel Barndt’s fast-break layup with 1:21 and Parham’s awkward shot in the post over Ackleson 40 seconds later gave the Bears (8-3, 1-0 Frontier) a 68-63 lead.
The Blue Hawks (3-5, 0-1 Frontier) had two chances in the final seconds to hit a game-tying 3-pointer and force overtime after Ackleson cut the lead to three on a layup with 30.5 seconds remaining.
But, nothing seemed to work for DSU.
Ackelson dribbled out of bounds trying to avoid traffic and set up a 3-pointer from the left corner with 7.5 seconds left. Fortunately, an offensive foul on the in-bounds pass by Rocky’s Malachi Roberts gave DSU the ball back with 7.2 remaining.
The Blue Hawks couldn’t engineer a winning play despite being gifted the ball as the Bears swarmed them on the in-bounds pass and forced Robbie Morey to eventually heave about a 27-footer from the left side that fell just short, hitting the front rim.
“I’m kind of floored by the whole game,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said.
DSU scored the first six points of the second half and built a 48-39 lead in 5 minutes. The Blue Hawks took a 35-34 halftime lead on a Johnie Sanders tip-in as time expired in the first half.
But, the Bears steadily got back into the flow, outscoring the Blue Hawks 18-4 over a 9-minute stretch to take a 61-57 lead. That run included 10 unanswered points and a 5-minute DSU drought.
“I thought we were a step slow, especially in the first half,” said Rocky associate head coach Wes Keller, filling in for head coach Bill Dreikosen who missed the game to tend to a family issue. “Midway through the second half, I felt our bus legs kind of left us and we were ready to play.”
The game stayed tight after DSU cut into Rocky’s 16-7 lead midway through the first half.
Blue Hawks senior Johnie Sanders and junior Robbie Morey played big roles in getting DSU back in the game before halftime.
Sanders finished with 15 points, scoring 13 in the first half. Morey had eight points, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 20 in the first half and turned the momentum in DSU’s favor until mid-second half when Rocky made its run.
In the post, Phillip Johnson Jr. had 10 points and four rebounds while Matt Lee was held to two points and six boards. Rocky outrebounded the Blue Hawks 36-29 and had 10 offensive rebounds.
“We didn’t clean up,” Orton said. “We expected Phil and Matt to go get every, single board. We bobbled a lot of balls. If we don’t bobble balls, we dominate the boards and we probably get four more possessions.”
The Blue Hawks have two days off before they host South Dakota Mines at 4 p.m. Saturday in a makeup of a game that was postponed in early November because of icy road conditions between Dickinson and Rapid City, S.D.
While Orton said there were many positives to the game, he was still troubled by the defeat.
“We just need a full-out effort from everybody and I don’t think we got that tonight,” he said.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (8-3, 1-0 Frontier): Joel Barndt 3-9 1-2 7, Jeremy Nicolas 6-11 10-10 22, Don Parham 7-12 0-0 17, Matt Strickland 2-6 1-2 5, Malachi Roberts 2-10 1-3 4, Darryl Alexander 2-3 0-0 5, Derek Bartel 2-4 0-1 4, John Bayo 2-4 0-1 4, Joe Stulc 1-3 0-0 2, Lincoln Powers 0-0 0-0 0, Danny Little 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-60 13-18 68.
DICKINSON STATE (3-5, 0-1 Frontier): Phillip Johnson Jr. 5-8 0-2 10, Matthew Lee 1-3 0-0 2, Ty Ackelson 8-13 1-3 18, Robbie Morey 3-6 1-1 8, John Hanstad 3-10 1-6 7, Anthony Hodges 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Johnie Sanders 7-11 1-2 15, James Hayden 0-0 0-0 0, Brock Boos 0-0 0-0 0, Isiah Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Jarek Hansen 1-5 3-3 0. Totals 28-57 6-11 65.
Halftime: DSU 35-34. Total fouls: RMC 14, DSU 13. Technical fouls: DSU, bench. 3-point goals: RMC 2-22 (Barndt 0-5, Nicolas 0-1, Parham 1-3, Strickland 0-3, Roberts 0-5, Alexander 1-2, Bayo 0-1, Stulc 0-2), DSU 3-16 (Ackelson 1-6, More 1-3, Hanstad 1-6, Hansen 0-1) Rebounds: RMC 36 (Nicolas 11), DSU 29 (Lee 6). Assists: RMC 12 (Parham 5), DSU 16 (Sanders 4). Steals: RMC 6 (Nicolas 2), DSU 9 (four with 2). Blocks: RMC 1 (Barndt), DSU 1 (Lee) Turnovers: RMC 16 (three with 3), DSU 14 (Morey 4).