GILLETTE, Wyo. - The DCC Buccaneers bounced back from a disappointing two-point loss to Gillette College on Friday night to beat the Colorado Northwestern Spartans 83-63 in the First Interstate Bank and Coach USA Classic in Gillette, Wyoming Saturday.
The Bucs looked like they had a hangover early on as they struggled to get going. The first half was a back and forth affair with 7 lead changes. Dawson went up by five points in the first few minutes, but the Spartans battled back to go up by nine with seven minutes left in the half. Dre'Quez Harvey was the spark CNCC needed, providing 15 points by going 3-3 from 3 point range. Beau Santistevan gave Dawson some solid play inside and out with 13 points and 7 rebounds in the opening half. Santistevan connected on 5 of his 7 shots from the field along with 3-5 from long range. It was an evenly played first twenty minutes with both teams forcing double digit turnovers and the rebounding battle even as they went into intermission with Colorado Northwestern leading 36-35.
After half-time, the Spartans came out of the locker room strong and built a 10 point lead with 14 minutes to go. Following a timeout, Dawson took control of the game by outscoring CNCC by 30 points over the next 11 minutes. The largest lead for the Bucs was a 20 point cushion with three minutes to go and DCC ended the game with that same 20 point margin. It was Dawson's strong defense that fueled the comeback as they held the Spartans to 25% shooting from the field and 22% shooting from 3 point range in the second half. They also forced 13 more turnovers in the half to bring the game total to 24 turnovers for CNCC. Dawson outscored them 48-27 in the final twenty minutes. On the offensive end, it was Jayce Griffith who came off the bench to knock down two from long range to go along with two free throws. Griffith's scoring really gave the Bucs a lift. Dawson's good free throw shooting was another key factor in their second half surge as they connected on 17-21.
Santistevan paced the Bucs attack with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 8-11 from the field, 3-6 from three point range and a perfect 2-2 from the free throw line. Three others were in double figures with Man Man Baker scoring 14 points, CJ Nelson with 11 and Camron Dunfee with 10. Harvey finished with 25 points for the Spartans, but took 18 shots to get it.
Dawson Coach Joe Peterson praised his troops, "This was an important game for us. It's not easy to bounce back after a tough defeat last night in a very physical game and to have to play 15 hours later against a deep team like CNCC. Our guys showed some mental toughness. It was looking bleak with 13 minutes to go in the game and down by double digits, but I loved how our guys responded. Jayce really sparked us. He hadn't played at all Friday night and didn't get in the first half today, but he was ready to play when I called his number. Having guys like him on the bench can make a big difference throughout the course of the season. And Beau has been so solid for us all year. I love to see how much he has grown and developed since last year. His hard work is paying big rewards."
Dawson moves to 5-2 on the season and will return home next weekend as the Bucs and Lady Bucs host 8 teams in a 3 day, 10 game tournament. On Friday, Gillette men and women will play Jamestown College JV at 1:30 and 3:30; followed by Dawson vs. Rocky Mountain College JV at 5:30 and 7:30. On Saturday, Rocky JV and Jamestown JV will play a doubleheader at 12:00 and 2:00; followed by a rematch of Dawson vs. Gillette at 4:00 and 6:00. On Sunday, the tournament will conclude with Dawson playing Jamestown College JV at 2:00 and 4:00.