SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Head coach Jim Sykes and his Morningside College coaching staff have been talking defensive intensity from the start of 2018-19.
Their Mustang team is listening … and intently.
Faced with a difficult task of a high-octane Briar Cliff University offense and loud Chargers’ crowd inside BCU’s Newman Flanagan Center Wednesday, Nov. 14, Mside kept its unbeaten overall and Great Plains Athletic Conference marks intact, toppling BCU 76-67 in a match-up of preseason National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ top 10 ranked programs. The visitors kept their hosts well below their 90-points-plus per game average, as Briar Cliff shot just 39.4 percent from the field overall and less than 35 percent (31.3) from beyond the arc.
Those shooting numbers coupled with a 45-37 edge on the glass proved to be the biggest differences for Morningside. Junior forward Matt Hahn (Fremont, Neb.) and sophomore guard Zach Imig (Gretna, Neb.) led the attack with a pair of doubles with Hahn scoring 13 points and collecting 11 boards to along with one blocked shot, and Imig tallying 11 points, scrapping for 11 boards and dishing out four assists. The bench also figured in prominently with sophomore center Trey Brown (Gretna, Neb.) leading the scoring column with 17 points on eight of 12 field goal shooting.
After trailing 11-4 early on, the Mustangs got off the mat in a big way going on a 38-15 roll for a 42-26 advantage late in the first half. They never trailed after the run, thwarting a few Charger comeback attempts in the second half that got the home team as close as eight points.
Morningside (3-0 overall, 2-0 GPAC) plays back-to-back home conference contests prior to Thanksgiving. Northwestern College visits Allee Gymnasium and Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center for a 7 p.m. start Saturday, Nov. 17, and Doane College of Nebraska sojourns to Sioux City for a similar tipoff time Tuesday, Nov. 20.
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – A 17th successive victory against crosstown Great Plains Athletic Conference foe Briar Cliff University was anything but easy Wednesday, Nov. 14.
It took every bit of sophomore guard Sierra Mitchell‘s third 30-point-plus effort in five games as well as a key eight-point, six-assist, three-steal performance by junior guard Jordyn Moser (Harlan, Iowa) and seven rebounds and three blocked shots from junior post player Sydney Hupp (O’Neill, Neb.) to enable head coach Jamie Sale‘s crew to move to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in loop action. The 71-67 decision, played in front of a large crowd inside BCU’s Newman Flanagan Center, wasn’t decided until Moser connected on a free throw with one second remaining.
Morningside College, ranked No. 11 in the preseason National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ preseason poll but having turned heads with several impressive wins to date, got out to a fast start much to the dismay of the partisan Chargers’ crowd. A three-pointer from Mitchell, one of seven made treys from the Pleasant Hill, Iowa, native, gave the Maroon a 19-10 lead late in the first period. As the home team offense continued to struggle in the second frame, the margin grew to as much as 13. However, Briar Cliff responded in the second half behind a 23-8 stretch, as the Mustangs’ offense went cold in the third period and early in the final frame. The home crowd reached frenzy level, as the hosts upped the advantage to as much as 10 (56-46), but enter the ever steady Mside bench, as freshman forward Sophia Peppers (Exira, Iowa) hit a lay-up and then sophomore guard Tayte Hansen (York, Neb.) nailed a three-pointer to spark a 13-2 roll that led up to the frenetic final moments.
Mitchell’s 32-point effort led all scorers. Moser’s eight were next followed by Peppers and senior forward Alexandra Gill (Omaha, Neb.) nearly totaling a double-double with seven points and eight rebounds.
Morningside returns home for back-to-back league contests before Thanksgiving. They face off against top 10 ranked Northwestern College Saturday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m., and then Doane College of Nebraska takes a northern trek to Allee Gymnasium and the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center for a similar start time Tuesday, Nov. 20.