SIOUX CITY, IA – A ferocious second-half comeback ended just short for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ No. 12-ranked Morningside College Wednesday, February 24.
Head coach Jim Sykes‘ Mustangs, getting out to a slow start on their home Allee Gymnasium floor inside the Rosen-Verdoorn Sports Center, saw No. 8 seed Mount Marty University go to their high-flying three-point attack early on. The Lancers scored 14 of the first 15 points and built as large as a 20-point first-half lead.
However, a vocal home crowd and some gritty defense in the second 20 minutes brought the four-time defending Great Plains Athletic Conference champions back. The frenzied atmosphere reached its peak when an MMU turnover gave the ball to the Maroon with just over six seconds left, trailing 76-73. Sophomore guard Trey Powers (SO/Omaha, NE) (Omaha, Neb.) found an open look for freshman guard Aidan Vanderloo (FR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa), who had the range, but the ball bounced away as the clock expired.
Mside, falling to 20-5, still managed a balanced offensive attack on the final stats. Sophomore guard Will Pottebaum (SO/LeMars, IA) (LeMars, Iowa) led the way with 22 points. Senior center Trey Brown (SR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) added another double-double to his standout 2020-21 campaign with 11 points and ten rebounds to go along with three blocked shots against what was, at times, a suffocating Mount Marty post defensive presence. Senior guard Zach Imig (SR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) turned in 10 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists, and Powers came off the bench for an impressive 13-point, four-rebound, one-blocked shot effort.
The one numerical area that proved key was at the charity stripe. Morningside struggled to the tune of 15-of-31 for 46.9 percent. Both sides hit better than 50 percent from the field overall and managed to connect three-point attempts in the 35-40 percent range during the evening.
Sykes’ squad now awaits their national tournament pairing with the official selection show Thursday, March 4.