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Russell, Blue Hawks handle Great Falls

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State junior Tevin Russell, middle back, passes the ball past two University of Great Falls defenders during a Frontier Conference game on Thursday at Scott Gymnasium.

The Dickinson State men’s basketball team can put its first notch in the win column in the Frontier Conference.

Junior guard Tevin Russell posted 26 points and six rebounds as the Blue Hawks’ topped the University of Great Falls 71-60 on Thursday at Scott Gymnasium.

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“Everybody had the state of mind to go out and play as hard as we can,” freshman guard Jacob Volk said. “We slowed down the game and got good shots throughout the game.”

Defense was prevalent for both teams in the first half. The Blue Hawks (6-8, 1-1 Frontier) went 9 of 25 in the first half while the Argos (10-5, 1-1 Frontier) only made 7 of 25.

Both teams woke up in the second half and played with a bit more urgency. DSU scored eight unanswered points on a pair of 3-pointers from senior guard Brock Boos and Russell made a layup.

With 11:36 left, sophomore guard DeSean Atkins made both his free throws to put the Blue Hawks up 49-38, but the Argos started to creep back and threatened to take the lead. The closest Great Falls came in the second half was two points on multiple occasions.

Argos guard Marcell Towns was DSU’s biggest threat and led his team with 21 points, five rebounds and added a steal.

“They’re the best team in the conference that can go to the hoop and we did a good job containing them,” said senior guard Ty Ackelson, who finished with 14 points and made three of his five 3-pointers. “Once we contained them we finished out with rebounds and I think the second half they finished with 3 offensive rebounds so it was a good team effort.”

DSU finally broke free of Great Falls and took a 13-point lead after Russell sank a layup and the following free throw with 28 seconds left. Junior post Mackenson Odenier had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think the guys played a tremendous game, it was one of their better halves,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “They stepped up and played a great second half because they played unselfish. They had some bad shots, but we had great play from a lot of people that helped us out a lot.”

With the team starting to take shape and each player has begun to find its role, Orton said he has been impressed with his freshmen like Volk, who went 3 for 5 for seven points, and Sean Kelly, who is out with an eye injury until next week.

“Jacob played a tremendous game,” he said. “He was a huge spark off the bench and he played really well in Canada at times and is starting to relax a little bit and just play his game.”

DSU started its post-holiday schedule winning one of three games at the University of Winnipeg (Manitoba), but Orton said the team played very well. He recognizes the competition level was completely different and helped toughen his team.

“In Canada, it helped us become a team and it helped us develop a little bit of toughness with three games in three days,” Orton said. “I think we played extremely well. We played great the first two nights. We stepped up and passed the ball around and we figured out how to play fast, yet under control at times and we needed to get some rust off us after taking 11, 12 days off.”

The conference play continues as DSU hosts Montana State-Northern at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Lights are ranked in the NAIA, but DSU is confident its nonconference schedule has properly gotten them ready to face its tough conference competition.

“It’s still going to be new to us because it’s going to be first round and we haven’t played everybody the first time yet,” Orton said. “We kind of know what Northern does, very methodical, very robotic but very very disciplined with great players that know how to work it around and find their shots in the last seconds of the shot clock.”

Ackelson added: “That tournament in Canada and our schedule thus far have prepared us for conference play and I think it’s paid off so far.”

Great Falls (10-5, 1-1): Naren Maynard 2-5 0-0 4, Daniel Arcau 2-7 2-4 6, TJ Harris 3-11 3-3 10, Maleek Singleton 2-7 4-4 8, Marcel Towns 8-18 4-7 21, Shawn Williams 1-6 5-8 7, Reid Tramelli 0-4 2-4 2, Chris Schlesser 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 18-58 22-32 60.

Dickinson State (6-8, 1-1): Ty Ackelson 5-8 1-2 14, Robbie Morey 0-2 0-0 0, Brock Boos 3-8 0-0 9, Tevin Russell 8-14 6-7 24, Mackenson Odenier 4-9 4-6 12, Jeremy Beehler 0-1 0-1 0, Juston Goodwin 0-1 0-0 0, DeSean Atkins 1-2 1-3 3, Isiah Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, Marko Potkonjak 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Volk 3-5 0-0 7. Totals: 25-51 12-19 71.

Halftime: DSU 27 -24. Total fouls: GF 20, DSU 26. Fouled out: DSU Morey. 3-point goals: GF 2-16 (Harris 1-7, Towns 1-5, Maynard 0-1, Singleton 0-1, Williams 0-1, Tramelli 0-1), DSU 9-19 (Boos 3-8, Ackelson 3-5, Russell 2-2, Volk 1-3, Beehler 0-1). Rebounds: GF 31 (three with 5), DSU 42 (Odenier 10). Assists: GF 7 (three with 2), DSU 17 (Morey 8). Steals: GF 5 (five with one), DSU 4 (four with one). Blocks: DSU 1 (Morey 1). Turnovers: GF 13 (Harris 3, Singleton 3), DSU 22 (Russell 4, Atkins 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.