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Orediggers edge DSU: Montana Tech rallies in 2nd half to top Blue Hawks in Frontier

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State junior post Mackenson Odenier, left, looks to pass to a teammate against a pair of Montana Tech defenders during the first half of a Frontier Conference game on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium. The Orediggers rallied in the second half to beat the Blue Hawks 77-74.

Free throws and rebounds can make or break a basketball game.

On Saturday, both broke the Dickinson State men’s basketball team.

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The Blue Hawks made only six of its last 11 free throws and missed key offensive rebounds, which opened the door for Montana Tech to take a 77-74 Frontier Conference win on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium.

“We executed for 39 minutes and the last minute we gave up a couple rebounds and I missed some free throws and that was the game,” DSU senior guard Ty Ackelson said.

With 1 minute, 4 seconds left in the game, Ackelson made his free throw shot to put DSU (7-13, 2-6 Frontier) up 73-67. The Blue Hawks finished 16 for 30 at the free-throw line.

Tech (11-4, 4-4 Frontier) rebounded the ball and junior guard Antonio Snow — finished with a game-high 31 points — drained a long 3-pointer to cut the lead in half with 45 seconds to go.

Senior shooting guard Bryan Bock hit a jumper to bring the Orediggers within one before Ackelson was fouled again and went back to the free-throw line. He missed his first shot but sank the second, still keeping DSU at a one-point disadvantage with 3 seconds left.

Ackelson led his team with 18 points after a second-half surge. Juniors Tevin Russell and Mackenson Odenier finished in double digits with 15 and 13 points, respectively, and tied with senior Isiah Thomas with a team-high four rebounds.

“We had a lead with a minute, 20 left … we don’t block out,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “We make them take a bad shot and all we had to do was rebound the ball and we missed two rebounds down the stretch that resulted in six points and that’s what cost us. Our guys didn’t rebound down the stretch and that just kills us.”

DSU outplayed Tech in most categories. The Blue Hawks went 27-49 (55 percent) from the floor, had 17 steals, two blocks, 14 turnovers and 17 assists. But when it all came down to it, Tech outrebounded DSU 36-27 and made 17 of its 25 (68 percent) of its free throws.

Just 12 seconds into the first half, Russell got DSU started with a two-point shot in the paint and the teams battled back and forth within five points of the lead. The Blue Hawks built their lead up to 10 twice in the half, but the Orediggers chipped away the second time and hit back to back shots as time expired.

DSU took a 37-33 lead into the half.

“The start I wasn’t happy with, the finish I was,” Tech head coach Pat O’Herron said. “We had runs in the second half, both teams going 5-0 or something like that, and coming back and cutting it back.

“I think we used the last three minutes very well. We were able to hit some big shots finally, make some free throws and when we played them down in Butte, it was the same kind of battle in the second half. Get to the free-throw line and free throw free throws.”

With the season starting to wind down, all teams have their eyes on a spot in the playoffs and everyone is in contention, including DSU. With seven games left, the Blue Hawks have a chance to move up in the standings and clinch their spot.

“We’ve proved we are a good team. We’ve competed with the best teams in this conference and we let a couple go, but it’s not over,” Ackelson said. “We’re going to keep doing our things and we’re going to keep fighting.”

DSU gets back to conference action and hosts Westminster College (Utah) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Griffins are currently 11-9 overall and sitting in sixth in the Frontier. DSU isn’t concerned with past scores and is treating each game as a new day and new opportunity to pick up a win.

“There’s still seven games last and this doesn’t kill us at all and we got to take it like that, it’s a heart breaking loss right now,” Orton said. “But we play it as a one-game season, that’s all we’re doing. (Today) we wake up, that season’s over with and that’s all we’re doing. The new season is against Westminster.”

MONTANA TECH (11-9, 4-4 Frontier): Adam Greger 3-9 1-1 7, Marcus Payne 1-3 2-2 4, Antonio Snow 11-16 6-12 31, Bryan Bock 5-9 3-3 13, Brandon Rydberg 2-7 5-7 10, Travis Peevey 3-7 0-0 6, Keegan McCarthy 0-1 0-0 0, Trent Thompson 1-1 -0- 2, Paul Engstrom 2-3 0-0 1-4. Totals: 28-56 17-25 77.

DICKINSON STATE (7-13, 2-6 Frontier): Ty Ackelson 5-9 7-13 18, Brock Boos 3-5 0-0 6, Isiah Thomas 1-1 0-2 2, Tevin Russell 5-10 5-5 15, Mackenson Odenier 5-10 3-6 13, Juston Godwin 3-4 0-1 7, Robbie Morey 0-2 0-0 0, DeSean Atkins 2-2 1-3 6, Jacob Volk 1-4 0-0 3, Carl Dynneson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 27-49 16-30 74.

Halftime: 37-33. Total fouls: MT 22, DSU 26. Fouled out: DSU, Atkins. 3-point goals: MT 4-19 (Greger 0-2, Snow 3-6, Bock 0-2, Rydberg 1-6, Peevey 0-3), DSU 4-13 (Ackelson 1-3, Boos 0-2, Russell 0-2, Goodwin 1-1, Morey 0-1, Atkins 1-1, Volk 1-3). Rebounds: MT 36 (Greger, Snow 6), DSU 27 (Thomas, Russell, Goodwin 4). Assists: MT 10 (Bock 4), DSU 17 (Russell 6). Steals: MT 9 (Greger, Snow, Bock, Rydberg, Roman Pruneda-Garza, Engstrom 1), DSU 17 (Ackelson 3). Blocks: MT 1 (Engstrom 1), DSU 2 (Russell, Morey). Turnovers: MT 19 (Bock 8), DSU 14 (Odenier 6).

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.