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White, Blue Hawks push winning streak to five against Bellevue

Off of a basketball court, junior Marcus White doesn't seem like the talking type. His comfort level is highest on the court, noted head coach Justin Wetzel, but still, his game rings louder than his voice. On Friday night against conference foe ...

Dickinson State junior Marcus White dribbles the basketball Friday night against Bellevue (Neb.) at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State junior Marcus White dribbles the basketball Friday night against Bellevue (Neb.) at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Off of a basketball court, junior Marcus White doesn't seem like the talking type.

His comfort level is highest on the court, noted head coach Justin Wetzel, but still, his game rings louder than his voice.

On Friday night against conference foe Bellevue (Neb.) at Scott Gymnasium, his game spoke, and the Bruins were forced to listen.

White put together perhaps his most rounded game as a Blue Hawk, pouring in a team-high 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, two assists and a block. He was a driving force behind DSU's 82-69 victory over Bellevue, a team that hasn't missed the NAIA national tournament since 2002.

Early in the second half, with the shot clock winding down, White threw up an off-balance, deep 3-pointer that nestled into the net. He smiled briefly and shook his head; he was getting used to the type of night he was having.

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"Seconds was going down, I had to shoot it, it went in. Guess I was just feeling myself after that," White said. "It was a good night for me. Every time I shot it I had confidence it was going in. Coach had a talk with me before the game, told me to play my game, that's what I did."

The Blue Hawks (8-4, 3-0) carried a five-point lead going into the half, which at one point early in the second half ballooned to 12, until the Bruins cut it to six with 10 minutes left.

But DSU's balanced attack - four finished in double-figures - was a combination Bellevue couldn't keep up with.

The game felt closest in the opening moments of the game, when the Bruins, led by four shots from deep by shooting guard Nick Hilton, hit five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes. But even then, the Blue Hawks were keeping pace, and once Bellevue slowed down, DSU grabbed the lead for good.

"They have tremendous balance. They spread those shooters out and let them put 'em up," Wetzel said of Bellevue. "We put more emphasis on guarding the dribble than flying out at them. We were aware of their ability to shoot."

But after that flurry, the Bruins went mostly cold, finishing with just a 37.7 percent clip from the field for the game, including a 13 of 39 first half.

In his sixth-man role, guard Jerry Shevlin came off the bench and played 35 of a possible 40 minutes, tallying 14 points - 12 after intermission - and a season high eight assists. When Bellevue had cut the game to its closest score of the second half, Shevlin hit back-to-back 3-point shots to push the game to a more comfortable distance. He entered the game under 70 percent from the free-throw line but hit all four of his attempts in the closing minutes to keep the Bruins at bay.

"(Shevlin as a sixth-man) gives us that one more rotation. He's bought into it, so we're going to ride that horse," Wetzel said. "He's playing starter minutes, only difference is he doesn't hear his name at the start."

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Terrell Butler finished second on DSU in scoring with 15, and Ryan Clark added 10 points in just 20 minutes of play. Dontae Clark had eight, and Jake Buck added seven.

Before the year began, Wetzel thought a strength of his team might be its balanced scoring. So far, he's gotten that, and on Friday night, he saw the continued emergence of a scoring ring leader in White.

"He's just a scorer by trade. I have to give him some freedom. He's efficient, he's so strong that he's a matchup nightmare," Wetzel said. "He's not a 'look-at-me' type of guy. He's going to do his job. It's who he is."

Dickinson State 82, Bellevue 69

Bellevue (6-7, 0-2): BJ Shelton 20, Nick Hilton 15, Blake Wilder 8. Totals: 69 (29-37).

Dickinson State (8-4, 3-0): Marcus White 20, Terrell Butler 15, Jerry Shevlin 14, Ryan Clark 10, Dontae Clark 8, Jake Buck 7. Totals: 82 (30-54).

Halftime: 39-34, DSU. Total fouls: BU 20, DSU 14. 3-point goals: BU 9-27, DSU 5-18. Rebounds: BU 38 (Mike Cardenas 8), DSU 41 (White 10). Assists: BU 9 (Jalen Hall 3), DSU 18 (Shevlin 8). Steals: BU 3, DSU 5 (Dontae Clark 2). Blocks: BU 0, DSU 6 (Brandon Jamar 2, Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. 2). Turnovers: BU 7, DSU 11.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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