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Blue Hawks drop Vikings: Russell scores 22 points as Dickinson State knocks off Valley City State

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State senior guard Tevin Russell, middle, drives to the basket during the first half a game against Valley City State in the Sam Milanovich Classic on Friday at Scott Gymnasium. Russell scored a game-high 22 points as the Blue Hawks defeated the Vikings 67-63.

The Dickinson State men’s basketball team faced Valley City State twice in 10 days.

Both games came down to which team had possession last and DSU came out on the winning end twice.

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The Blue Hawks beat the Vikings 67-63 Friday in Scott Gymnasium and put up a battle from the start. DSU head coach Ty Orton said it has been this way ever since he started coaching here.

“Over the years Jeff (Kaminsky) and I have been here at DSU and Valley, the teams have been equal the entire time,” Orton said. “The last six years we’ve kind of been identical teams and this year our games are kind of ugly and it’s a defensive battle and a physical battle with a lot of free throw shots … The way both teams looked tonight, that’s how it was played it was a sloppy game.”

Junior guard Tevin Russell added: “I feel like we were better than the team, but our mistakes are the reason it didn’t show much in the score. We just made a lot of mistakes and that’s why the game was so close.”

In the first half, both teams kept it close and were not down by more than six points. There were four lead changes.

With VCSU leading 21-18, DSU retaliated with three-straight 3-pointers — two by senior guard Brock Boos and one Russell — to take a 28-21 advantage. The Vikings tightened the lead 28-26 and with a buzzer beater. Russell finished with a game-high 22 points, while Boos ended with six. However, DSU went into halftime with a slim 32-31 lead.

Both teams played sloppy, but the Blue Hawks committed 28 total fouls compared to the Vikings’ 18.

To start the second half, VCSU senior guard Aaron Duske — finished with nine points and had a team-high eight rebounds — went up for a layup and was fouled by DSU senior guard Robbie Morey.

Despite the large amount of fouls, DSU was able to capitalize on their free throw shots, going 22 for 26 (85 percent) which helped them win the game.

With less than a second left in the game, DSU led 64-63 as freshman Jacob Volk was fouled and VCSU’s coach Kaminsky received a technical, also giving Russell two shots at the line. Russell made both and Volk made his second to put the Blue Hawks up by four and to seal the win.

Russell went a perfect 8 of 8 from the charity stripe. Junior post Mack Odenier supplied 15 points — made 9 of 10 free throws — and led the team with six rebounds. Ty Ackelson posted 12 points and went 3 of 6 from 3-point range.

“(Twenty six) from the free throw line, that’s phenomenal. That’ll keep you in a lot of games,” Orton said. “Tonight was a night where things weren’t working for us. Our defense wasn’t there, our offense wasn’t really clicking. We hit free throws and that’s what helped us win it.”

Russell said the high number of fouls by his team especially in the second half wasn’t so much of them playing sloppy, but the Blue Hawks playing more aggressive on defense.

“Coach was just stressing being solid on defense and just doing what we’ve been working on,” Russell said. “When we get away from that, that’s kind of where the fouls came from and us getting in bad positions. And for us, getting fouled that was just us being aggressive and taking what the defense gave us.”

DSU hosts Mayville State at 7 p.m. today in the final day of the Sam Milanovich Classic.

Despite the win against VCSU, the Blue Hawks can’t come out and start slow against Mayville State and need to play with high intensity and attack early.

“We need to show up right away and that’s about it,” Odenier said.

The Comets fell hard Friday to Rocky Mountain College 93-60, but Orton isn’t going into the game thinking they’re an easy opponent. Orton said his team will be ready to play tomorrow and treat them like any opponent and play aggressively.

“I think they had an off night tonight against a very good Rocky (Mountain College) team, but I think Dan (DeWitt) does a good job at making sure they reverse the ball but they attack so hard,” Orton said. “And they’re going to be hard-nosed and gritty too so that’s what we got to be ready for.”

VALLEY CITY STATE: Russell Robinson 1-3 3-7 5, Ty Pratt 3-4 0-0 6, Aaron Duske 1-7 7-8 9, AJ McDonald 3-15 0-3 7, Jeremy Ware 1-4 0-0 2, Paxton Lloyd 3-4 2-2 9, Skylar Shockman 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Thielges 1-2 1-1 3, Mac Kroeplin 2-4 2-3 8, Quinton Peterson 2-3 1-2 5, Jeff Romeus 2-5 4-4 9, Anthony Saavedra 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 19-53 20-30 63.

DICKINSON STATE: Ty Ackelson 3-8 3-4 12, Robbie Morey 0-5 0-0 0, Phillip Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Tevin Russell 7-17 8-8 22, Mackenson Odenier 3-5 9-10 15, Jeremy Beehler 0-1 0-0 0, Josh Torgerson 0-0 0-0 0, Juston Goodwin 0-0 0-0 0, DeSean Atkins 0-2 1-2 1, Brock Boos 2-5 0-0 6, Isiah Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Marko Potkonjak 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Volk 3-6 1-2 7, Sean Kelly 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 20-57 22-26 67.

Halftime: DSU 32-31. Total fouls: VCSU 18, DSU 28. Technical fouls: VSCU: Bench. 3-point goals: VCSU 5-16 (Kroeplin 2-4, Romeus 1-2, Lloyd 1-2, McDonald 1-4, Robinson 0-1, Ware 0-3), DSU 5-18 (Ackelson 3-6, Boos 2-5, Russell 0-3, Morey 0-2, Johnson 0-1, Potkonjak 0-1). Rebounds: VCSU 46 (Duske 8), DSU 40 (Odenier 6). Assists: VCSU 7 (Duske 2, McDonald 2), DSU 5 (five with one). Steals: VCSU 2 (two with one), DSU 3 (Volk 2). Blocks: DSU 3 (three with one). Turnovers: VCSU 15 (McDonald 4), DSU 11 (Odenier 3).

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.