Dickinson State Blue Hawks men's basketball avenges loss to Mayville State Comets, climbs conference ranks

Julian Vasquez had to give his head coach credit. Not hearing his named called in the starting lineup was a good thing.The senior guard came off the bench to score 25 points and powered the Dickinson State men's basketball team to avenge a three-...

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Dickinson State junior forward Stephon Dafney, right, drives along the baseline against Mayville State guard Aidan Quinn Saturday at Scott Gymnasium. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

Julian Vasquez had to give his head coach credit. Not hearing his named called in the starting lineup was a good thing.
The senior guard came off the bench to score 25 points and powered the Dickinson State men’s basketball team to avenge a three-point loss to Mayville State earlier this season with a 77-60 win in a North Star Athletic Association rematch Saturday night at Scott Gymnasium.
Vasquez didn’t know he wasn’t going to start until just before game time. He then hit 9 of 13 shots and had three steals.
“It worked,” Vasquez said of the decision to bring him off the bench. “So you can’t sit here and knock something that didn’t work. All power to (DSU head coach Justin Wetzel) on that one.”
Wetzel said his team played in the honor of Donelda “Donnie” Jessen, the late wife of LaVern Jessen, a former DSU head coach and Dakota Athletic Conference commissioner. DSU held a moment of silence in her honor to start the game.
With the win, DSU (12-12, 5-4 NSAA) now sits in fourth place in the conference and is only a game out of first place.
“We were a lot more comfortable,” Blue Hawks junior forward Reggie Fields Jr. said, “which allowed us to get stops on defense, make mistakes here and there, but still pick each other up. I think coming out with intensity really helped us out along the line.”
Fields made 7 of 15 shots for 18 points, while junior center Brandon Jamar also provided a spark off the bench with nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Jamar helped DSU to a 50-33 rebounding edge - with 17 on the offensive end - against a Mayville (14-9, 4-6) team that came into the game leading the nation in total rebounding margin and defensive rebounds.

“That says a lot because they are a physical, tough team,” Wetzel said. “Our guys … they came out, executed and went 100 percent. I’ll be frank. Our backs were against the wall, and this is a pretty tough group.”
Though Mayville took an early lead, DSU found some offense and took a 22-21 lead with just less than 7 minutes remaining in the first half. The Blue Hawks then closed on a 14-8 run before halftime.
Vasquez and Fields both had a game-high 10 points by halftime - Fields going 4 for 8 from the floor and Vasquez 3 of 6 in the first half - while Vasquez supplied a game-best six rebounds.
“Tonight was fluid, it was fun to play in; smiles on the court,” Fields said. “Just being able to rebound, get to the rack and finish through contact.”
DSU stayed on its offensive stride to start the second half, but the Comets kept it within about 10 points for a majority of the second half.
Vasquez converted a crowd-enticing three-point play late in the game after being fouled on a drive to the hoop for a layup, basically killing Mayville’s comeback hopes.
“It’s hard to win on the road, but you want to make sure you win at home,” Vasquez said. “We had this game, and we knew we let one slip and had an opportunity to win that (last game).”
The Blue Hawks, who had lost their previous two games, will get another shot to strike back next Wednesday on the road against No. 17 Valley City State, which leads the NSAA and beat DSU by one last week.
“It’s a game of runs, and it’s about who gets hot at the end,” Fields said. “It’s not a good thing to go through what we went through as far as losses in the middle of conference, but I would rather us go through adversity in the middle, persevere and that way we can finish out strong as a team.”

MSU (14-9, 4-6 NSAA): Jordan Villebrun 1-3 0-0 2, Chuck Robinson 5-12 1-2 11, AB Najee 2-4 1-2 5, Jamal Branco 2-8 5-8 10, Darnell Landon 4-8 0-0 9, Conor Quinn 1-4 1-1 3, Terrance Lockett 1-2 0-0 3, Antar Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Josh DeWitt 0-2 0-0 0, Aidan Quinn 1-3 0-0 2, Kiree Robinson 4-8 1-3 11, Garek Droog 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 23-63 9-16 60.
DSU (12-12, 5-4 NSAA): Reggie Fields Jr. 7-15 4-4 18, Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. 3-4 0-2 6, Billy Engel 0-6 0-0 0, Jacob Gondrezick 2-7 1-2 6, Curtis Redd 1-6 5-6 7, Stephon Dafney 2-6, 1-2 5, Julian Vasquez 9-13 6-7 25, Kolbi Selby 0-2 0-0 0, Brandon Jamar 5-7 0-0 10. Totals: 29-66 17-13 77.
Halftime: DSU 36, MSU 29. Total fouls: MSU 19, DSU 17. Technical fouls: MSU, Robinson. 3-point goals: MSU 5-17 (Najee 0-2, Branco 1-2, Landon 1-2, C. Quinn 0-3, Lockett 1-1, Johnson 0-2, DeWitt 0-1, A. Quinn 0-2, Robinson 2-2), DSU 2-15 (Engel 0-3, Gondrezick 1-5, Redd 0-1, Dafney 0-4, Vasquez 1-2). Rebounds: MSU 33 (Robinson 7), DSU 50 (Jamar 9). Assists: MSU 15 (Villebrun 4), DSU 10 (Gondrezick 3). Steals: MSU 4 (four tied with 1), DSU 7 (Vasquez 3). Blocks: MSU 2 (two tied with 1), DSU 4 (Jamar 4). Turnovers: MSU 15, DSU 8.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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