(Photo courtesy Dawson CC)

WAHPETON. N.D. – Monday was a big night for the Dawson Community College men.

The Buccaneers extended their winning streak to six games, won their 20th game of the season and snapped North Dakota State College of Science’s 30 game conference winning streak with the 72-70 victory in Wahpeton. The last time NDSCS lost a conference game was the first conference game two seasons ago on January 7th, 2016 against DCC.

They ran off the next 11 straight that season, all 12 last season, and the first seven this season. The loss drops the Wildcats to 7-1 in the league and moves Dawson just one game behind at 6-2 and in sole possession of 2nd place.

It didn’t look like it would be a close game early on as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 16-6 lead behind the hot shooting of Sam Baker who was on fire from long range. It didn’t matter how far beyond the 3-point line he was and whether he was open or not, it didn’t seem like he could miss. He finished the half with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.

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Marquis Holloman chipped in with 3 from long range himself as the home team connected on 8-18 from deep which accounted for 24 of their 36 points. DCC somehow managed to stay within striking distance despite shooting 11% from 3-point range, not getting to the free throw line once and turning it over eight times. NDSCS’s biggest lead of the half came at the intermission when they led 36-25.

Dawson seemed undeterred as they came out of the locker room and held the Wildcats scoreless for the first five possessions of the second half. On the offensive end, Tyrell Harper scored a few inside on mismatches and Brent Finn knocked down some jumpers from the outside. They quickly cut the margin to six and forced a timeout from the home team.

The Buccaneer defense really tightened up in the 2nd half and the Wildcats couldn’t get any open looks from the outside. NDSCS only connected on 2-12 from outside the 3-point line in the second half while the Bucs finally started to find their range going 5-13. Overall from the field in the final half, the Bucs shot 52%.

Dawson also took better care of the ball and only turned it over four times the rest of the way. But the biggest difference was that they got to the free throw line 22 times during the last 20 minutes. The Bucs increased their margin by as many as 9 points with four minutes to go. The Wildcats never regained the lead as Simon Falokun and Finn iced the game with some clutch free throw shooting to make it a two-possession game in the final 20 seconds.

Finn led the way for the Bucs with 23 points. Harper contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds while Falokun also had a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. For the Wildcats, Baker finished with 27 points, but only shot 4-13 in the second half.

“I thought we gave away the game the last time we played them at home,” said DCC head coach Joe Peterson, “and I wanted our guys to play this game with more desire than we had last time and to take a step forward in the way we trust our system and each other.

“I loved what we showed in the 2nd half when we were down. We fought hard and earned this one. This group has a high ceiling, but we have to keep getting better every day! This is just one game and now we have another big one coming on Thursday.”

The Buccaneers will return home on Thursday to face the only other team in the league who beat them this year, Lake Region State College. They will tip off at 7:30 at the DCC Toepke Center.

The Dawson Community College women meanwhile fell 72-58 to the North Dakota State College of Science. It’s the Lady Bucs’ third conference loss of the season.

DCC kept the game close in the first and went into halftime down by nine points, 29-38. The Lady Bucs came out strong in the third quarter with an immediate 3 point shot by Alexius Foster. With two lead changes and two ties, DCC just couldn’t get over the hump.

NDSCS would outrebound DCC 40-33, cause 18 turnovers and have 10 steals. There was 31 points scored off the bench for the Lady Wildcats and Dawson had only 9. Other than that, both teams would be nearly equal in other statistical categories. The difference in the game was more players in the scoring column for NDSCS.

Alexius Foster scored a game high 17 points, along with 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Emily Harwood had a good performance resulting in a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Bucs will return home this Thursday, February 8th at 5:30 pm to play Lake Region State College in a battle for 2nd place in the Mon-Dak Conference standings.

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