Wayne State rallied from a 16-point deficit with 15:00 to play to take a short-lived lead, only to watch #22 Sioux Falls rally in the final minute for a 70-68 NSIC South Division men’s basketball win Friday evening over the Wildcats at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. The visiting Cougars move to 6-1 and 4-1 in divisional play while WSC drops to 6-5 and 6-3 in division play. The ‘Cats are now just 2-5 at home and fall to 1-3 in games decided by four points or less.
The first half was close early, but a scoring surge by Sioux Falls in the final eight minutes gave the Cougars a double digit lead at halftime.
A Justin Eagins 3-pointer with 10:40 to play in the half saw WSC within three of the Cougars at 18-15.
USF went on a 12-2 run and took a 30-17 lead at the 6:23 mark and closed the half with a 40-24 lead over the Wildcats.
Sioux Falls maintained a double digit cushion for the first eight minutes of the second half when the Wildcats began their comeback.
The Cougars held a 47-31 lead with 15:10 to play and still held a double figure lead at 53-42 with 10:47 to play when the ‘Cats made their move.
A Nate Mohr jumper, Eagins 3-pointer and free throw from Mohr cut the Cougar advantage to 53-48 with 9:48 left.
Sioux Falls maintained their lead and was in front by seven at 63-56 with 4:31 to play.
WSC scored the next eight points, capped by a Cody McCullough layup with 2:02 to play, that gave Wayne State a 64-63 lead and its first lead since 2-0 to start the game.
A Jay Saunders layup off a USF turnover put the ‘Cats up three at 66-63.
The Cougars used baskets by Chase Grinde and Teathloach Pal to regain the lead at 67-66 with 49 seconds to play.
A Jordan Janssen basket gave WSC its final lead at 68-67, but Pal scored on the next possession for USF on a layup to give the Cougars a 69-68 lead.
Mohr missed a 3-pointer for WSC with 1.0 seconds left and Grinde made one of two free throws for Sioux Falls giving the Cougars a 70-68 win.
Mohr led WSC in scoring with 17 points followed by Janssen with 12. Freshman guards Jay Saunders and Justin Eagins each scored 11.
WSC shot 29 of 54 from the field for 53.7 percent, going 6-13 behind the arc and just 4 of 7 at the line.
Pal had a 21 point, 15 rebound double-double to lead Sioux Falls. Jack Thompson added 16 points with Austin Slater scoring 10.
USF shot 27 of 59 for 45.8 percent and made 7 of 18 3-pointers to go with 9-12 free throws.
The Cougars dominated WSC on the boards 37-22 with 17 offensive rebounds. Wayne State’s top rebounder was Janssen with nine, who also had five assists and two blocks for the Wildcats.
Wayne State and Sioux Falls meet again Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Rice Auditorium.
The Wayne State College women’s basketball team shot just 21.9 percent (14-64) from the field in falling at Sioux Falls Friday evening 80-45 in NSIC South Division basketball played at the Stewart Center in Sioux Falls. Host USF is now 6-2 overall and 6-2 in the NSIC South Division while WSC drops to 5-6 and 4-5 in division play.
The host Cougars raced to an early 11-0 lead on the Wildcats before WSC got on the board with a Kylie Hammer layup with 5:52 to play in the quarter.
WSC made just 2 of 15 shots in the opening stanza and fell behind 21-5.
Both teams struggled early in the second quarter but Wayne State’s shooting woes continued, going just 2 of 15 again in the second quarter, as the Wildcats trailed 36-15 at intermission.
USF outscored WSC in the third quarter 22-13 with the Wildcats hitting just 4 of 16 shots in the quarter as Sioux Falls built a 58-28 lead.
Reserves played a majority of the final quarter with the host Cougars holding a 22-17 scoring edge over the Wildcats with Sioux Falls finishing the night with an 80-45 win.
Senior point guard Halley Busse was the lone Wildcat in double figures with 13 points.
WSC ended the game making just 14 of 64 shots and 4 of 28 from the 3-point line. The ‘Cats were 13-14 at the charity stripe.
Anna Brecht poured in 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting for Sioux Falls. Lauren Sanders also hit double figures with 11.
The Cougars made 31 of 68 shots for 45.6 percent and connected on 13 of 28 3-pointers for 46.4 percent while going 5 of 7 at the line.
Sioux Falls held a sizeable 50-34 advantage in rebounding over the Wildcats. Kylie Hammer hauled in six boards for Wayne State and also had a team-high four assists.
The Wildcats face Sioux Falls again Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Stewart Center at Sioux Falls.