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Second half stops send DSU over Viterbo to conference championship game

With three and a half seconds remaining in the North Star Athletic Association semifinal game, Marcus White dashed down the court on a breakaway and sealed the game with a bench-raising dunk. With 30 points on the night, White helped the Dickinso...

With three and a half seconds remaining in the North Star Athletic Association semifinal game, Marcus White dashed down the court on a breakaway and sealed the game with a bench-raising dunk. With 30 points on the night, White helped the Dickinson State men's basketball team win 83-73 over Viterbo University (Wis.) on Sunday, Feb. 25 from the Lozier Athletic Center in Bellevue, Neb.

"We have nine seniors and they don't want to be done playing together," Dickinson State head coach Josh Vaughan said. "We had some other guys step up and we're just thankful we got another opportunity."

After the first half, the V-Hawks led 37-35, but the Blue Hawks dominated the second half, shooting 71.4 percent from the field and limiting Viterbo to just 39.1 percent shooting.

Slowly, a two point lead turned into a consistent four point lead, which ballooned to eight points with five minutes left to play. Two minutes later, DSU senior guard Jerry Shevlin sank a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 73-63 and giving the Blue Hawks (15-12, 9-7 NSAA) their first double-digit lead of the night.

"We made a conscious effort to try to not allow junior (Jason) Tichy or senior (Ethan) Haberman to catch the ball. We didn't want them to touch it," Vaughan said. "That allowed some other guys to get open a little bit, but we wanted to make those other guys beat us."

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White only contributed nine points in the first 20 minutes. In order to stay in it, the V-Hawks (16-14, 7-9 NSAA) had to keep limiting him, but the 6-foot-6 senior netted 21 points in the final half. He also earned a team-leading three steals and two blocks. White was named to the first team all-conference during the NSAA banquet the night before.

"I think Marcus was a little upset he didn't win player of the year so he came out and played really well in the second half," Vaughan said. "He's done that all year for us and hopefully he can do that again tomorrow."

In the first half, play was close, with both teams shooting 52 percent. Tichy scored 18 of his 23 total points in the opening half, followed by Haberman who added 10 for the V-Hawks. The two combined for 43 points on the day and carried the Viterbo offense.

"They made a bunch of shots. Viterbo is a really good shooting team and we didn't get to shooters as much as we needed to," Vaughan said of the first half.

Cade Anderson, who averages 11.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, was limited to just four points and six rebounds, which could have been a huge reason for the loss. The last time the two teams met, a double overtime contest which ended in an 82-80 Viterbo win, the 6-foot-10 Anderson recorded 23 points.

"We changed our ball screen coverage from the last time we played them. Some things allowed him to get open a little bit more than he did tonight," Vaughan said. "I think we're just more locked in as far as not letting him touch the ball closer to the hoop. He's so big that when he does touch it close you can't really do anything about it. So we just tried to get him off the block when he did catch it."

The win sends the Blue Hawks to the conference championship game where they will face Mayville State on Monday, Feb. 26 in Bellevue, Neb. at 7 p.m. local time.

The teams split contests this season, with DSU winning 82-71 at home and the Comets winning 71-58 on their own turf. The 58 points is the fewest the Blue Hawks have scored in a game all season.

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"When we played them then it was a back-to-back and it was our first back-to-back in a long time," Vaughan recalled. "We just weren't ready to go from the opening tip. It just wasn't a good mental game for us. (Monday) is the championship. We'll be locked in and ready to go."

Dickinson State 83, Viterbo (Wis.) 73

DSU: Marcus White 30, Jerry Shevlin 11, Terrell Butler 11, Ryan Clark 9, Carter Gallo 8, Akeem Williams 8, Austin Payne 4, Konner Goettsche 2.

V: Jason Tichy 23, Ethan Haberman 20, Alex Clement 13, Jared Fleischmann 7, Noah Fredrickson 6, Cade Anderson 4.

Halftime: DSU 35, V 35. Total fouls: V 20, DSU 18. 3-point goals: V 13-26 (Tichy 5-10), DSU 8-15 (Shevlin, Gallo, 2-3). Rebounds: V 20 (Anderson 6), DSU 29 (Clark 6). Assists: V 14 (Fleischmann 6), DSU 16 (Shevlin 4). Steals: V 8 (Fleischmann, Anderson 2), DSU 7 (White 3). Blocks: V 2 (Clement, Anderson), DSU 3 (White 2). Turnovers: V 20, DSU 14.

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