During second-half action against Viterbo (Wis), Dickinson State junior guard Michael Vandall set a screen on the perimeter for sophomore guard Travon Hamilton, who then passed the ball to Vandall after he rolled to the left corner. A nanosecond after making the catch, Vandall fired a pass to Melvin Collins cutting into the lane.
Ending a beautiful sequence of team-basketball, the junior forward found junior guard Kenny Jackson, who knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner.
Giving the Blue Hawks their biggest advantage of the game at 55-46, the play resulted in one of the team's 15 assisted field goals and 13 makes from three-point range. Leading throughout the second half, Dickinson State picked up a 65-60 win on Saturday, Jan. 12, from Scott Gym.
The victory improves Dickinson State's record to 7-9, including a 3-2 conference mark.
It wasn't always pretty from long distance, but the Blue Hawks finished 13-for-34 from downtown after starting 2 of 13.
"The first five-six minutes didn't go very well for us, but I thought we responded by just having an understanding of the moment; after the first five minutes, we weren't ready," Dickinson State head coach Josh Vaughan said. "Made some shots. ... The way they were guarding us, they did a good job of packing the paint and made it hard for us to get in and drive, so we had to make some threes. That's a good team we beat tonight, so any win you can get in conference play is a good win."
Beginning with 3-pointers from Collins and junior guard Donte Walker, the Blue Hawks made more shots from deep (13) than from inside the arc (nine). However, the home team went cold from the field early in the first half, allowing the V-Hawks to take a 19-8 lead after a 15-2 run.
Dickinson State had particular trouble dealing with the visitors' 1-3-1 zone defense, which limited penetration and touches in the post. The boys in blue had no choice but to rely on the offense to come from the outside.
"I'm ok as long as we're taking good threes, the ones where we just pass it around the perimeter are not good ones for our team. ... They forced us into taking a lot and we made some. As long as we're taking good shots, I'm ok with it," Vaughan said.
Jackson made three consecutive 3-pointers, cutting DSU's deficit to 19-17. Late in the first half, back-to-back 3-pointers from Walker and Jackson put the Blue Hawks in front 31-29, their first advantage since they led 6-4 two minutes into the game.
After a hook shot inside by V-Hawks senior forward Cade Anderson and a hoop in the paint by junior guard Tyree Young, Viterbo went back in front 33-31 before Walker knocked down the team's eighth trey of the half.
Dickinson State entered the halftime break up 36-33 and did not trail the rest of the game.
"We lately, with back-to-back games, we usually come out so sluggish, but then Kenny Jackson hit a couple of threes, which got everyone else going," Walker said. "I hit a couple after that and it felt good."
With each player draining five 3-pointers, Jackson and Walker paced the Blue Hawks with 23 and 15 points, respectively. Hamilton and Vandall followed with seven points each. Hamilton also contributed three steals while Vandall had a team-high nine rebounds (seven offensive rebounds) and closed out the visitors with arguably the play of the night.
Saving a blind Hamilton pass from crossing the back court, Vandall picked up the ball and calmly walked into a 3-pointer from NBA range, making it a three-possession game at 63-55 late in the second half.
"Mikey played really well. He's our emotional leader," Vaughan said. "He's vocal, he talks, he makes the tough plays, he gets a lot of those big rebounds for us and really competes. And that's something that hopefully the rest of our team sees to him around him because he's been doing a really job lately."
Dickinson State 65, Viterbo (Wis.) 60
V (9-10, North Star 2-3): Jason Tichy 16, Noah Fredrickson 10, Jake Scroeckenthaier 8, Cade Anderson 8
DSU (7-9, North Star 3-2): Kenny Jackson 23, Donte Walker 15, Travon Hamilton 7, Michael Vandall 7, Austin Payne 5, Melvin Collins 4, Malcohm Hill 4.
Halftime: DSU 36, V 33. Total fouls: V 14, DSU 12. 3-point goals: V 4-14 (Fredrickson 2-2), DSU 13-34 (Walker 5-10, Jackson 5-11). Rebounds: V 36 (Tyree Young 6), DSU 30 (Vandall 9). Assists: V 9 (Young 7), DSU 15 (Hamilton 4, Jackson 4). Steals: V 3 (Robert Cunitz 2), DSU 7 (Hamilton 3). Blocks: V 2 (Anderson 1, Jezzriah Burton 1), DSU 2 (Collins 1, Hamilton 1). Turnovers: V 17, DSU 12.