SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Hitting a blistering 56.1 percent from the field; limiting visiting Benedictine College of Kansas to less than 40 percent shooting; holding a 35-32 edge on the boards.
There wasn’t much to not like for Morningside College head coach Jim Sykes and his staff after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ fourth-ranked team dispatched of their Heart of America Conference guest on the home Allee Gymnasium floor. “We’d been talking (in the time leading up to the opener) about coming out with energy, especially on defense,” the Maroon and White’s head coach said. “We figured the offense would be there, even with some lulls from time to time. However, as we kept the defensive pressure up, their shots stopped falling, and we were able to create opportunities.”
“It was a great way (to start the season),” he added. “A good crowd and fun night all the way around. You can’t ask for much more.”
In the early going, the visiting Ravens gave MC a stiff test. After trailing 9-2 off the opening tip, Benedictine rattled off eight straight points for their only lead of the night (10-9) at the halfway point of the opening frame. Sophomore guard Zach Imig (Gretna, Neb.), in route to a 15-point, four-assist, four-rebound effort, drilled back-to-back treys and the home side was off on a 32-14 stretch to lead 41-24 at the break. Morningside continued to build on the advantage, leading by as much as 31 before winding up with an 82-59 victory.
The scoring column proved balanced. Imig’s double-digit total was one of three, as junior center Tyler Borchers (LeMars, Iowa) just missed a double-double, tallying 17 points and nine boards to go with two blocked shots, two assists and a steal. Junior forward Matt Hahn (Fremont, Neb.) added 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks and also wowed a crowd of just short of 1000 with three long three-point buckets.
Morningside breaks from court competition until Saturday, Nov. 10, opening the 2018 Great Plains Athletic Conference round robin with a trip to Dordt. Game time is set for 3 p.m. following the women’s contest which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off at DeWitt Gymnasium on DC’s campus in Sioux Center.