SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Morningside College head men’s basketball coach Jim Sykes and the 2019-20 Mustangs know they’re going to get everyone’s best shot home or away.
The Concordia University of Nebraska did so and a little more to the Maroon. Ranked No. 1 for the first time February 2008 earlier in the day, the upset-minded Bulldogs didn’t surrender the lead inside Allee Gymnasium of the Rosen-Verdoorn Sports Center until the second half and didn’t allow the usually high-octane Mside offense to get going throughout the 40 minutes of a heart-stopping Great Plains Athletic Conference clash.
Senior guard Alex Borchers (SR/South Sioux City, NE ) (South Sioux City, Neb.), who had been held to only three points in the first 20 minutes, came back with eight to become one of four home side players to finish in double figures. None of his 11 were more important than the two free throws he calmly sank with nine seconds left, though, which gave Sykes’ squad a 72-71 victory that moved them to 11-0 overall and 6-0 in the league.
CU, despite falling to 7-3 overall and 2-3 in the conference, managed to make things difficult on their hosts with a white-hot three-point shooting outing, draining 13 of 21 attempts for a 61.9 percent clip, to go along with a post defense that blocked seven Mustang shot attempts. Morningside’s usually reliable long-range shooting attack sputtered, going only two of 12 from outside the arc for an ice-cold 16.7 percent. They were able to keep the Bulldogs within their sights though due to the post play of senior center Tyler Borchers (SR/Le Mars, IA ). The LeMars, Iowa, native fought through the roadblocks put up from the opposing paint trio of Chuol Biel, Ryan Holt, and Sammy Adjei to register a mammoth 28-point, 10-rebound double-double that added to a glowing stat line that included three blocked shots and two assists. Junior guard Zach Imig (JR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) was the third Morningside player in double digits, tallying 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot of Concordia’s six-foot, eight-inch Biel which he gathered and drove the length of the floor for an impressive four-point swing that brought the Mustangs’ faithful to a fever pitch in the second half.
The Bulldogs nearly managed to escape Sioux City with the upset through all of that. After Borchers canned his two charity tosses, guard Brevin Sloup, who hit four threes, launched a long trey attempt that bounced off the right side of the backboard. Fellow backcourt mate Justin Wiersema did his level best to gather the rebound and aim for a putback, but it went up and over the basket as the clock ran out.
Morningside hits the road for another conference game Saturday, Dec. 14. They take on the University of Jamestown at UJ’s Harold Newman Center. Tip-off is 4 p.m.
NOTES: Tyler Borchers, with his total, became the seventh player in program history to reach the 1,600-point mark. He ranks seventh on the all-time list (1,607 points)… Imig continues to track closer to joining the 1,000-point club. He has 932… Alex Borchers is nearing the all-time first 20, needing only 34 points to do so, as he has 1,160 going into the weekend.
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Sophomore forward Taylor Rodenburgh turned in her first collegiate double-double, spotlighting a battle with defending the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Division II champion and top-ranked Concordia University of Nebraska Wednesday, Dec. 11.
The Hawarden, Iowa native, who has turned into a super-sub of sorts for head coach Jamie Sale‘s squad this season, showed more of her wares against a veteran-laden and active defensive Bulldog unit. She scored 14 points, grabbed ten rebounds with four of them coming on the offensive glass, and dished out an assist to aid the NAIA D2 No. 7-ranked Mustangs in a narrow 88-77 Great Plains Athletic Conference loss.
Senior forward/center Sydney Hupp (O’Neill, Neb.) led the offensive attack with 16 points and gathered seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Sophia Peppers (Exira, Iowa), continuing an impressive four-game span where she’s averaging 14 points per outing, finished with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a blocked shot.
A 27-12 first quarter from the Bulldogs put Sale’s squad behind the eight-ball quickly. However, a 19-7 run in the second period brought the home crowd to its feet and the Maroon within 34-31. CU countered by scoring 12 of the final 14 first-half points and managed to turn back more host team rallies in the second half.
Morningside (8-3 overall, 5-2 GPAC) concludes its pre-winter break league slate Saturday, Dec. 14. Tip-off at the University of Jamestown’s Harold Newman Center is 2 p.m.
NOTES: Hupp recently moved into the all-time scoring top 20. She is 28 points shy of becoming the 16th player in program history with 1300 or more. Hupp is also part of the first 15 in career rebounds (681 – No. 15).