After playing against Mayville State with a limited roster and pulling out a win, Dickinson State was unable to repeat its luck in its game on Friday against Dakota Wesleyan.
Despite being on their home floor for the first time in over a month, the Blue Hawks (3-3) were unable to use the fans and its home gym to their advantage over the Tigers (5-1), falling with an 87-72 deficit.
“Dakota Wesleyan is just a really good team; they're really well coached,” Derek Selvig, the head coach of the Blue Hawks men’s basketball team, said. “They’ve made the national tournament every year for the past few years. They've got a really good team; they've got a lot of really smart players. It was a really good game for us to kind of expose some things that we might be missing.”
For its second consecutive game, the Blue Hawks played with a limited roster of eight players. Still, despite the overall score, both teams shot nearly 51% from the field and exactly 43.8% from the 3-point line.
Prior to the game, Selvig said the Blue Hawks would need to be rebound heavy in order to stay in the game. Overall, both teams snagged 30 each.
However, the Tigers were 9-10 from the free-throw line, compared to the Blue Hawks’ 9-17. Dickinson State also recorded 14 turnovers, compared to Dakota Wesleyan's eight.
Dickinson State senior guard Bryce Knox led the team in points with 23 in 33 minutes of play and also recorded four rebounds and a block. Sophomore guard Trey Hladky recorded 16 points in 26 minutes and recorded three rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Ajdin Toskic recorded 11 points and six rebounds for the Blue Hawks.
Junior guard Clayton York played solid off the bench for Dickinson State, scoring 11 points and recording three steals and an assist in 23 minutes of play.
To Selvig, the limited roster was not enough to fully blame for the loss.
“I’m not going to make an excuse; it’s just kind of the roster we’ve had for two weeks now,” he said. “We played a couple games with that and it changed the way we play defense a little bit.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the reason why we lost the game, but it’s definitely been an adjusting period,” Selvig added. “But I think it’s really good for these players. There’s so much adversity being created in the first part of the season that I just think it’s going to do wonders for us later on in the year.”
Dickinson State came onto its home court ready to battle after celebrating Thanksgiving the day before, matching each bucket the Tigers put up, and slightly took the lead to start.
However, with the score being 16-14, the Tigers pushed to a 14-3 run and never let up on the Blue Hawks, eventually going into the halftime break with a 51-37 lead over the home team.
Following the break, the Blue Hawks came out on a stronger note and attempted to climb back from the deficit.
The Blue Hawks were eventually able to narrow the Tigers’ lead to 11 following a 2-pointer by senior forward Ajdin Toskic with 11:10 remaining. Dakota Wesleyan quickly answered with a 3-pointer to bring its lead back to 14.
The Tigers only outscored the Blue Hawks 36-35 in the second half, but it was still enough to take the large win.
Despite the loss, Selvig credited his players for their performance.
“I think that out of the six games we’ve played, I don’t think we’ve played a bad team,” he said. “We’ve played some really good teams. We’re just battling. We’ve got guys in and out of practice and out of the lineups and it’s just kind of one of those years.”
Dickinson State looks to rebound from its loss in its next game against Yellowstone Christian College on Tuesday, Dec. 8, however, Selvig mentioned the team is currently looking at potentially adding another game to the schedule before it plays against the Centurions.