If you were in Sioux City, Iowa, last night for the DWU-Morningside game, I'm jealous. I listened on the radio, and it sounded electric. What a game bewteen two great teams, and what a statement for DWU to go into that environment and pull out as big a road win as its had in awhile.
A few thoughts from last night's game:
-Brady Wiebe should be starting to generate some GPAC Player-of-the-Year buzz. That was his second 27-15 game in 10 days. And the thing that is probably starting to scare teams the most: he's just a sophomore. Also, I read a thread on a GPAC hoops message board yesterday where fans were trying to predict the award winners, and all the Coach-of-the-Year votes were going to Todd Barry from Briar Cliff. Really? If DWU wins the league without its top two players, I think John Hemenway should be a lock for his second GPAC COY award.
-All day yesterday, I kept getting the feeling Ike Muoneke would have a huge game, and I'm glad I was right. What a monster job on the boards against a tough, physical Morningside front line, and it seemed only fitting that Ike was the one to seal the game from the free throw line.
-Mitch Bain's play at the point is getting more and more efficient. Last night: 5 assists, 1 TO. If they can keep getting just one turnover from their primary ballhandler, the Tigers will be in good shape the rest of the way. It doesn't hurt when he scores 17 like he did last night either, and his back-to-back threes in the first half gave DWU some extra cushion it ended up needing.
-How many times do announcers refer to a "rare four-point play?" Well, how about an even more rare five-point play. Things were looking awfully good for the home team when they went up three late, but Wiebe's 3-point play, plus the technical on Morningside coach Jim Sykes, instantly put DWU up two. Kudos to Wiebe for knocking down all three from the charity stripe with the fiesty Morningside students trying their best to be a distraction.
-Anyone else who listened on KMIT heard Tim Smith talk about the respectful handshakes beteween teams following the game. Great display of character and respect by both teams after going to war with each other for 45 of the most intense minutes of the entire season.
So now DWU is alone at the top. The key, obviously, is staying there. It's probably a good thing that Mount Marty's only league win was against Concordia, who was leading the GPAC at the time. So its would seem the Lancers are the perfect opponent for Sunday - it SHOULD be a game Weselayn can win easily, but at least the Tigers know the Lancers are capable of pulling a stunning upset. Hopefully they can recover from Wednesday's battle and take care of business Sunday to earn another 20-win season, which are becoming the norm for Hemenway-coached teams.
Wrestling throws a shutout
How often do you get to see a shutout in wrestling? Not often, I've found in my years covering the sport, but last night was an exception at the Wellness Center as now-No. 19-ranked DWU dropped Minnesota West CC by the score of 51-0.
The Bluejays were open at three weight classes, so the Tigers essentially started with an 18-0 advantage. But DWU did a great job in the seven matches that were actually wrestled. Jordan Harer, now ranked third in the NAIA at 141 pounds, and Derek Ashley were impressive with first-peroid pins, and Jeff Holmes, Ray Rickenbach and Danny Hutcheson all really got after it to earn three of the quickets technical falls I've seen. Tanner LaValliere had a nice win in the night's closest match, and Brandon Goodwin also earned a solid victory.
Dakota Wesleyan has been really good in its last three appearances, and it will be fun to see how they fare Wednesday when it takes on Morningside and Grandview College in Sioux City on Tuesday night. If DWU can score a pair of wins that night, it will really be rolling as the postseason gets closer.
Here are some links to the coverage of last night's DWU events:
-Here is the official relese from the 51-0 wrestling win. The men's basketball and women's basketball releases should be online later today. I'll link them once they're online.
-Click here for the Mitchell Daily Republic's Tiger Zone Blog, which features all their coverage from last night's game. Or click here for wrestling, here for men's basketball and here for women's basketball.
-Click here for the Sioux City Jounal's story from last night's men's basketball game. There are some interesting quotes from Morningside coach Jim Sykes, and an interesting interpertation of Ike Muoneke's rebounding. Click here for the women's story.
-Click here to see the Siouxland Sports Authority's photos from last night's men's game.
Enjoy. Just a reminder - basketball polls come out Monday afternoon and wrestling polls follow on Tuesday...it will be interesting to see if we can move up in both.