Other than last week's knee injury to senior star Colby Fitzgerald, the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team has enjoyed two pretty spectacular weeks, setting up Wednesday's huge showdown at Morningside. This will be the first in a series of blogs over the next 48 hours leading up to the tip in Sioux City, so to start, let's recap how we got here...
The Tigers ran off four-straight wins at home, including a 27-point blowout of Dordt and a 22-point thrashing of No. 13-ranked Briar Cliff despite losing Fitzgerald for the season early in the first half. DWU also added wins over an underrated Nebraska Wesleyan team and Hastings to improve to 18-5 overall and 9-2 in the GPAC.
In the past two weeks, DWU jumped from the "Others Receiving Votes" portion of the Top 25 poll to 22nd, and then all the way to 14th yesterday. The team's recent tear apparently hasn't gone unnoticed.
Also, the Tigers had the GPAC Player-of-the-Week in each of the last two weeks, and frankly, I doubt either player received too much competition for the honor. Brady Wiebe took home the award on Jan. 19 after averaging 21.5 points and 12 rebounds in the wins over Dordt and NWU. He shot 63 percent from the floor and 95 percent from the line.
Mitch Bain was also honored this week for his role in the wins over Briar Cliff and Hastings. Bain averaged 21.5 points, 7.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds in the two wins, and he set a new career high for points in each game. His 19 points Wednesday was a new high for the junior, and he set the bar even higher with 24 points Sunday.
On top of all of that, Coach Hemenway added another recruit in the process. Hurley, S.D., star Bo LaCroix signed his Letter of Intent Friday, and we released the signing yesterday. Things are going pretty good when you can do so well in the present and build for the future at the same time. This is a nice signing for the team. LaCroix is 6-7, can play four positions and has won state titles in both basketball and football in high school. When a school like DWU can land a proven winner who's averaging around 27 and 14 this season, that's a good get.
So these incredible two weeks bring us to the present. Wednesday, No. 14 DWU travels to No. 15 Morningside with first place in the GPAC on the line. I can't wait.
I'll check back later today with some links leading up to the showdown in Sioux City.