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Blue Hawks early season struggles continue against Montana Tech

It’s been a rough start to the season for Dickinson State men’s basketball, who are winless through their first four games.

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The Blue Hawks early season struggles continued Thursday night. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson State men’s basketball team has yet to find their groove.

Before Thursday night’s matchup with Montana Tech, they allowed 87 points per game in their first three. While they improved that number on Thursday, the offense was held to a season low in a 63-51 loss to the Orediggers on the road.

The Blue Hawks (0-4) statistically had a better shooting night than Montana Tech (2-1), but they lost the turnover battle considerably and were outrebounded on the offense glass, leading to extra opportunities for the Orediggers.

Despite the shooting struggles from the field overall, the 3-point stroke was there for DSU early, knocking down five of their first six attempts, including a stretch of makes on four straight possessions for a 19-16 lead with 14:32 left in the half.

But outside of that run, they were only 2-for-8 in the rest of the half. The Blue Hawks committed nine turnovers and sent Montana tech to the free throw line 12 times, where they made ten.

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The bench provided a nice boost, registering 16 points, led by senior guard Aushanti Potts-Woods with six.

Senior guard Bryce Knox, who leads DSU in scoring through three games at 18.3 per game, was scoreless on five field goal attempts.

Montana Tech sophomore forward Caleb Bellach had 13 points in the first half, sinking three 3-pointers, just shy of his season average of 17.5.

But the Blue Hawks were still within striking distance at the half, down 39-32.

After shooting 45 percent from the field in the first half, DSU went only 7-for-21 in the second half, with no 3-pointers made. Not only were they scoreless from beyond the arc, they attempted only four shots, compared to 14 in the first half.

The Orediggers opened the second half on an 11-4 run as they quickly extended their lead 50-36. DSU had just one field goal in the opening six and a half minutes in the half.

The Blue Hawks kept it close throughout the second half but couldn’t find their shooting stroke. The deficit hovered around ten points for much of the half. Eventually time ran out for DSU to make one final push as the Orediggers had a 63-48 lead with 4:09 left.

Like the first half, DSU committed nine more turnovers in the second half. There weren’t many extra opportunities for the Blue Hawks, who reeled in only three offensive rebounds and had two second chance points, compared to eight rebounds for Montana Tech and 11 second chance points.

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DSU had 19 points in the second half with only two assists.

Potts-Woods wound up being the leading scorer with 11, the only Blue Hawk in double figures. Knox finished with only four points, making just one shot on ten attempts. As a team, DSU shot 45 percent (18-45) from the field and 38 percent (7-18) from three overall.

Montana Tech had slightly lower marks than that, shooting 39 percent (22-56) from the field and 27 percent (5-18) from three, but committed only seven turnovers.

DSU guard John Evans finished 1-for-6 from the field with a team-high four turnovers. The 18 turnovers as a team was a season-high through four games.

Still in search of their first win, the Blue Hawks will return to the court Nov. 5 for a matchup with Montana-Western (3-1).

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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