Morningside’s men’s basketball team is off to a 2-0 start after an 83-78 victory against College of the Ozarks on Friday in Point Lookout, Mo.
The Mustangs, who defeated the University of Saint Mary 80-76 on Tuesday in Sioux City to open the campaign, shot 51.6 percent from the field and drilled 13 of 29 3-point shots for 44.8 percent to beat the Bobcats.
Pierce Almond was the Mustangs’ most accurate long-range bomber with a six-for-10 shooting performance from the 3-point arc en route to a game-high 18 points.
The Mustangs had four other players join Almond in double figures. Freshman center Trey Brown scored 16 points behind an eight-for-11 shooting performance from the field and freshmen guard Zach Imig also had the first double figure scoring performance of his collegiate career with 13 points. Brown and Imig were prep teammates at Gretna High School, where they helped lead the Dragons to back-to-back Class B state championships over the past two seasons.
Brody Egger and Tyler Borchers also scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Alex Borchers and Ben Hoskins were next with six points each.
Egger matched his career high with eight rebounds and Tyler Borchers also had eight rebounds to lead the Mustangs to a 36-29 advantage on the boards.
The Bobcats Ethan Davidson led all performers with 10 rebounds to complete a double-double with his team-high 16 points.
Imig dealt six assists to match the Bobcats’ Heath Carmichael for game honors.
Morningside used a late spurt in the first half to build a 43-34 advantage by the intermission. The Mustangs held a 31-29 lead with less than five minutes left in the half before they went on a 12-5 scoring spurt to close out the half.
The Mustangs stretched their advantage to 14 points early in the second half when a 3-pointer by Almond followed by a basket by Egger made it a 48-34 game with 18:55 left to play. Morningside eventually increased its lead to a game-high 18 points when 3-pointers by Almond and Imig on consecutive trips down the floor put the Mustangs up 54-36 with 16:50 left.
Morningside led by 13 points, 72-59, with nine minutes left before Ozarks stormed back to create some anxious moments for their guests.
The Bobcats closed within one point, 74-73, when DeMon Hyler made a 3-pointer with 3:55 left. Almond answered with a 3-pointer of his own to give the Mustangs a 77-73 lead and a basket by Alex Borchers made it 79-73 with 2:55 left.
Ozarks closed within 81-78 with 46 seconds left and had a chance to tie before Brand Cochran misfired on a 3-point attempt with two seconds left. Ozarks fouled Egger when he came down with the rebound. Egger made two free throws to account for the final margin.
Morningside will travel to Bellevue, Neb., on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for a 7 p.m. game against the fourth-ranked Bellevue Bruins.
Sixth-ranked College of the Ozarks defeated No. 10 Morningside 86-77 in a matchup of perennial NAIA women’s basketball national powers on Friday in Point Lookout, Mo.
It was the season opener for both teams.
The Mustangs, who lost their season opener for only the third time in the last 23 years, saw the current campaign start the same way last year’s season ended when they suffered an 80-72 setback against the Bobcats in the second round of the NAIA Division II National Tournament.
Rachelle Housh and Madison Braun struck for 3-pointers to stake the Mustangs to an early 6-2 lead. Another 3-pointer by Braun and a 3-pointer by Jenna Bork gave the Mustangs a 14-7 lead with 3:58 left in the first quarter before the Bobcats answered with a 15-1 scoring run to take a 22-15 lead into the second quarter.
The Bobcats’ late first period scoring surge gave them an advantage they never relinquished. Ozarks took a 42-37 lead into the intermission and eventually led by as many as 17 points, 75-58, when Cassidy Johnson made a 3-pointer with 7:11 left in the game.
Morningside freshman Sierra Mitchell made a sparking collegiate debut with 22 points to lead all scorers. Mitchell did most of her scoring from long range with a six-for-12 shooting display from the 3-point arc. Braun drilled four of five 3-point shots and finished with 17 points, but they were the Mustangs’ only double figure scorers. Bork and Sydney Hupp each scored eight points, while Jordyn Moser and Lauren Lehmkuhl both had seven.
Shelby Roberts scored 20 points to lead a group of five Bobcats in double figures. Madison Brethower was next with 15 points, followed by Simmerman and Kelsie Cleeton, each with 14, and Johnson with 10.
Cleeton added a game-high 15 rebounds to lead Ozarks to a 40-36 advantage on the boards. Lehmkuhl led the Mustangs with seven rebounds.
Moser and Mady Maly each dealt four assists for Morningside to match the Bobcats’ Brethower and Johnson for game honors.
Morningside drilled 15 of 29 3-point field goal attempts for 51.7 percent and shot 45.5 percent overall. The Mustangs outscored the Bobcats 65-62 from the field, but were outscored by 12 points from the foul line, where Ozarks made 24 of 29 attempts compared to a 12-for-16 showing for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs hope to rebound when the travel to Lawrence, Kan., for a 3:30 p.m. game against Haskell Indian Nations University on Saturday.