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Blue Hawks stop two-game skid with win over Yellowstone Christian

Last weekend, Dickinson State men's basketball dropped two nine-point losses; one to NAIA Division I No. 9 Carroll College (Mont.), a game it led by seven at halftime, and another to Great Falls (Mont.), in which it got "bullied around," said hea...

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Dickinson State junior Marcus White makes a move into the paint against Yellowstone Christian College on Tuesday at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Last weekend, Dickinson State men’s basketball dropped two nine-point losses; one to NAIA Division I No. 9 Carroll College (Mont.), a game it led by seven at halftime, and another to Great Falls (Mont.), in which it got “bullied around,” said head coach Justin Wetzel.

When the Blue Hawks took the floor Tuesday night at home for the first time in nearly two weeks, with only two games to play before the conference schedule begins, they were looking for a pick-me-up. In Yellowstone Christian (Mont.) College, they found one.

After a quick 7-2 Centurion lead to start, the Blue Hawks (4-4) seized control midway through the first half and led the rest of the way, eventually taking a 71-62 victory.

YCC, a program in just its second year, played with notable effort and resolve, but ultimately couldn’t match up with the height and depth of DSU.

The Blue Hawks held the rebounding edge, 41-31, and after the Centurions’ big center - 6-foot-8 Abraham Nyok - checked out during the first half with three fouls, it was DSU center Ryan Clark’s turn to start scoring.

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Without a viable option to guard the junior, Clark enjoyed a 10-point, four-rebound first half, making four of five shots.

In one possession early in the second half, with Nyok still on the bench, the Blue Hawks missed four consecutive shots and rebounded all of them - the play finally ended in two free throws for Clark. He finished with 17 points and 10 boards, both season-highs.

“When the big guy got in foul trouble and they brought that smaller guy in, it helped a bit,” said Clark, who grabbed a season-low two rebounds last game. “But my guards just looked after me. I love playing with my guards, everyone on the court. If you watch me, I get pretty easy points. It’s all layups from them, so, I’m lucky to play with all of them.”

The Blue Hawks finished with 10 assists on 26 baskets, not their best output of the year, said Wetzel, but there were a few timely buckets created by different guards driving to the basket down the stretch that helped ward off YCC.

Marcus White, who has tied or led the team in scoring in six of eight games, matched Clark’s 17 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Terrell Butler used three 3-pointers to accumulate 11 points, and Jerry Shevlin and Jake Buck had nine and eight points, respectively.

“We have some balance and some depth. That was able to bail us out a little bit tonight,” Wetzel said. “That’s one of our strengths. I would just like to see more consistency. Right now it seems like you’re just rolling the dice; a ‘Who’s got their shot going tonight?’ type of feeling.”

The Blue Hawks entered the second half up 10 points, and at one point pushed the lead to 14, but the Centurions hung around for most of the second half, pulling within seven points on three different occasions.

Missed free throws by DSU, which finished just 14 of 29 from the line, allowed YCC to keep within striking distance, but White’s 10 second-half points helped seal the game for the Blue Hawks.

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DSU will host Johnson & Wales (Colo.) Saturday at home, then starts its conference schedule six days later against Jamestown.

“We’ve shown flashes. We’re battling some chemistry issues and some toughness issues right now,” Wetzel said. “We got a one-game season before conference play. Time to go work for our one-game season and go from there.”

  Dickinson State 71, Yellowstone Christian 62

YCC29 33

DSU3932

YCC: Taylan Barrett 21, Mechiah Zilkoski 13, Abraham Nyok 9, Reagan Oyugi 6.

DSU: Marcus White 17, Ryan Clark 17, Terrell Butler 11, Jerry Shevlin 9, Jake Buck 8.

Total fouls: YCC 24, DSU 19. 3-point goals: YCC 7-19 (Zilkoski 3-5, Barrett 2-3), DSU 5-20 (Butler 3-6, Buck 1-3, Shevlin 1-4). Rebounds: YCC 31 (Oyugi 6), DSU 41 (Clark 10). Assists: YCC 11 (Stefan Tellis 6), DSU 10 (White 3). Steals: YCC 6 (Zilkoski 2), DSU 8 (Buck 3, Dontae Clark 3). Blocks: YCC 1 (Barrett 1), DSU 1 (Butler 1). Turnovers: YCC 18, DSU 14.

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