DICKINSON, N.D. – Dickinson State pulled away late in the game Friday night as the Valley City State men’s basketball team dropped its conference opener 81-71 to the Blue Hawks.
The Vikings and Blue Hawks traded leads and baskets throughout much of the first 33 minutes before the Blue Hawks were finally able to create some separation down the stretch. Valley City State held a 34-32 halftime lead, but Dickinson State shot 61 percent in the second half and outscored VCSU 49-37 over the final 20 minutes.
Valley City State drops to 2-7 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Dickinson State improves to 5-3 overall and 1-0 in the NSAA. The game was a matchup between the No. 2 (VCSU) and No. 3 (Dickinson) teams in the NSAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Viking freshman Hunter McCalla knocked down five 3-pointers Friday night as he led the Viking offense with 17 points. Austin Dunbar had 14 points and five rebounds, and Jayden Ferguson added 12 points. The Vikings had a trio of freshman play strong games in the conference opener. McCalla, Jake Skelly and Logan Nelson combined for 32 points, eight 3-pointers and seven assists.
VCSU shot 44 percent from the field (26-59), 48 percent on 3’s (12-25) and 78 percent at the line (7-9). Dickinson State finished the game at 51 percent from the field (31-61), 29 percent on 3’s (6-21) and 81 percent at the line (13-16).
VCSU committed 16 turnovers compared to 11 for Dickinson. The Blue Hawks held a 35-29 advantage on the glass, including a 9-6 edge in offensive rebounds.
Marcus White led the Blue Hawks with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jerry Shelvin had 20 points and eight assists.
Up next: Valley City State (2-7, 0-1 NSAA) hosts Minnesota-Morris on Saturday. The women’s game tips at 4 p.m. with the men to follow at about 6 p.m.
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