VALLEY CITY, N.D. (VCSUVikings.com) – The Valley City State men’s basketball team had its three-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night as No. 18-ranked Dakota Wesleyan pulled away late in the second half for a 93-77 victory.
A 12-2 second-half run by the Tigers proved to be the difference as Dakota Wesleyan turned a tie game into a 10-point lead and never trailed from that point on.
Valley City State drops to 8-18 overall this season. The Vikings close out the regular season on Saturday when they host Mayville State University for the final North Star Athletic Association conference game. VCSU is currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the NSAA standings, tied with Viterbo University and Dakota State University. Depending on Saturday’s results, the Vikings will be anywhere from the No. 5 to the No. 7 seed for the NSAA tournament next week.
Dakota Wesleyan improves to 20-8 overall. The Tigers are ranked No. 18 in the latest NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
Dakota Wesleyan scored on eight of its first nine possessions to start the game, opening up a 17-11 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 32-20 on Ty Hoglund’s 3-pointer with 9:00 left in the first half. Valley City State responded with a 12 straight points to tie the game. Austin Lee started the run with a jumper and Logan Nelson capped it with a basket inside. Hunter McCalla then followed with a 3-pointer from the right corner to give VCSU its first lead of the game at 35-34 with 4:37 to go. Dakota Wesleyan ended the first half with an 8-4 run to take a 42-39 lead into the locker room.
Valley City State twice tied the game on Denzel Kennedy baskets early in the second half. The last time came on a bucket inside that tied the game at 51-51 with 15:19 remaining. From there, Dakota Wesleyan was able to create some separation. A quick 3 by Aaron Ahmadu put the Tigers back ahead and sparked a 12-2 run that gave Dakota Wesleyan a 63-53 advantage with 12:10 to go.
After the Tigers extended the lead to 79-65, Valley City State responded with an 8-2 run to cut it back to single digits at 81-73 with 3:46 remaining. The Vikings would hang around until Wesleyan tacked on points in the last 90 seconds for the 93-77 final score.
Four Vikings scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Logan Nelson. Connor Entzi was efficient for VCSU as he poured in 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Michael Cornelious scored 13 points, and Denzel Kennedy added 10 points and pulled down six rebounds. Freshman Hunter Sand had eight points and four rebounds off the bench.
Dakota Wesleyan guard Ty Hoglund, who entered the game averaged 26 points per game, poured in 40 points on 13-for-19 shooting to lead the Tiger offense. It was the fourth time this season that Hoglund topped 40 points in a game. Wednesday night was mainly a two-man show for the Tigers as guard Nick Harden added 24 points and six steals.
Valley City State shot 50 percent for the game, going 29-for-58 overall from the field. VCSU was 6-for-14 on 3’s (43 percent) and 13-for-18 on free throws (72 percent). Dakota Wesleyan finished the game at 49 percent overall (29-59), 48 percent on 3’s (10-21) and 76 percent at the line (25-33). VCSU finished with 11 assists and 19 turnovers, compared to 10 assists and 13 turnovers by the Tigers.
Up next: Valley City State closes the regular season on Saturday by hosting Mayville State University for a conference doubleheader. The women tip at 3 p.m. with the men to follow at 5 p.m. The Viking men are currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the NSAA standings with Dakota State and Viterbo University.
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