(DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE – In a fast-paced game full of fouls, the Dawson Community College Buccaneers men made some clutch free-throws down the stretch and picked up a big road win at Bismarck State College on Monday night. The win gives the Bucs a 4-2 record and puts them firmly in 2nd place at the halfway point of the conference season. Dawson has played four of their first six conference games on the road, winning three of them. In the second half of the conference race, they will only have two road games out of the final six.
It looked like it would be pretty easy early on as the visiting Bucs jumped out to a quick 10 point lead on a couple of three-pointers from Brent Finn and a couple of tough inside baskets by Simon Falokun. But the early success didn’t last long as the home team came to life. Bismarck went on a 13-2 run to take the lead. They looked to be in control with a few minutes remaining in the first half when they were up 54-45, but the Bucs held them scoreless for the last three minutes and, just like they started the game, they closed the half with a 10-0 run to regain the lead 55-54 on a fastbreak lay-up by Tyrel Harper.
It was a very even first half with both teams connecting on 14 two-point field goals and 5 three-point field goals. The only difference was the Bucs made 12 free throws to the Mystics 11. There was only a difference of one in both rebounding and personal fouls. Falokun and Finn had big halves for the Bucs, scoring 14 and 15 respectively. Each of them only missed one shot from the field in the opening half. Harper also contributed 12 points.
The second half was similar to the first half as Dawson started out strong, but couldn’t maintain their momentum. Hot-shooting by Mystics guard Brody Nieuwsma from the outside and good inside play by Austin Slaughter put them back ahead. Just like in the first half, the Bucs found themselves down, but made a late run to regain the lead. Tate Savoie and Travon Hamilton hit big 3’s to spur the run and Falokun had his way inside all night long. Still down five with a couple minutes to go, Falokun fed Harper inside for a bucket and then Falokun scored again inside. Finn hit a crucial runner off the glass that put Dawson up by 1. Falokun made a free-throw for the Bucs while Slaughter missed two straight on the other end. Up two points with 15 seconds remaining, Taylan Barrett corralled the defensive rebound and was fouled immediately. Bismarck called a couple of timeouts to try and ice him, but Barrett calmly sank both free throws to make it a two-possession game. The Bucs didn’t allow the Mystics to get a decent shot off in the closing seconds and came away with the 110-106 road victory. It was their 4th straight win.
For the game, the Bucs shots 55% from the field, 40% from the 3-point line and 83% from the free throw line. The Mystics shot similar percentages, but made a couple fewer free throws, and that proved to be the difference in the game. Almost every other statistical category was even between the two teams, including rebounding, steals, blocks, points off turnovers and bench points. Falokun finished the game with 30 points on an efficient 10-12 field goals and 10-13 free throws and pulled down 12 rebounds. Finn scored 23 points on 10-14 shooting. Harper had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. For the home team, Slaughter had 33 points, but it took him 23 shots to get those points. Nieuysma finished with 24.
DCC Coach Joe Peterson was relieved, “We didn’t play very well tonight, especially on the defensive end, but Simon and Finn were huge on the offensive end. We got stops on defense to close out the half and the game and made some clutch free throws. It was good to get another good road win.”
The win put the Bucs at 18-6 on the season and 4-2 in the conference. They will return home on Thursday to start the second half of the conference season against Williston State College. DCC defeated WSC 68-60 back on January 8.
Thursday night will be Barefoot Coaching Night. The coaches will take off their shoes to raise awareness for the millions around the world who don’t have proper footwear. Fans are encouraged to bring a pair of new shoes or money to donate to the cause.