Morningside blasted Dakota Wesleyan 89-59 in the GPAC Men’s Basketball Semifinals to set up a title tilt against Northwestern.
Sixth-ranked Morningside burned down the nets at a sizzling 61.8 percent shooting pace from the field when it blew out No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan 89-59 in Saturday’s GPAC Men’s Basketball Post-Season Tournament Semifinal in the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center.
The Mustangs improved their record to 25-6, including a perfect 13-0 mark at home, and will host No. 11 Northwestern (25-5) on GPAC Championship Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Mustangs already captured this season’s GPAC regular season title with a 14-4 league slate to secure an automatic entry into the upcoming NAIA Division II National Tournament on March 7-13 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Morningside shot over 50 percent from the field for the 14th time in the last 16 games to raise its season’s accuracy mark to 52.2 percent. The Mustangs bombed in 14 of 26 3-point field goal attempts for 53.8 percent.
The Mustangs also shined on the defensive end of the court by holding Dakota Wesleyan to its lowest scoring total of the season.
Dakota Wesleyan gave the Mustangs’ their closest call at home of the season season when it took a Tyler Borchers shot at the buzzer in an 84-83 triumph on Feb. 7. The rematch in Sioux City was never in question. The Mustangs never trailed and put the Tigers away early when they opened the game with a 17-6 scoring run to take a double figure lead by the 13:33 mark of the first half after back-to-back 3-point field goals by Brody Egger. Morningside finished the half with 3-pointers by Matthew Hahn and Alex Borchers to take an insurmountable 44-22 advantage into the intermission.
Morningside led by at least 20 points for all but 25 seconds of the second half and eventually pushed its advantage to a game-high 33 points, 89-56, when James Maher struck from 3-point range with 21 seconds left to play.
Tyler Borchers scored 15 points to lead a group of five Morningside players in double figures. Zach Imig and Matthew Hahn were right behind with 14 points, followed by Egger with 12 and Andrew Semadeni with 10 for his third straight double figure scoring effort off the bench.
Alex Borchers just missed double figures with nine points and Trey Brown contributed seven tallies and a game-high six rebounds off the bench.
The Mustangs’ starting lineup of Egger, Imig, Hahn and the two Borchers combined to make 24 of 32 field goal attempts for a sizzling 75.0 percent. Hahn went four-for-six from the 3-point arc, where Egger was three-for-five and Imig a perfect two-for-two.
Brown’s six rebounds, along with five caroms from Imig and Tyler Borchers led the Mustangs to a 34-21 domination of the boards.
Egger dealt a game-high five assists and Semadeni had three steals to match Dakota Wesleyan’s Jason Spicer for game honors.