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Late layup by Randy Rosenquist Jr. propels DWU men to comeback victory

Feb. 7—MITCHELL — Though basketball is a team sport through it all, individual performances by the Dakota Wesleyan men Wednesday night brought the Tigers back into the game late.

And Randy Rosenquist Jr. made sure the Tiger fans at the Corn Palace went home happy.

Rosenquist's hard-charging layup off an inbound pass with 6 seconds left in the game capped a remarkable 79-78 comeback win for DWU over Briar Cliff (Iowa) in a Great Plains Athletic Conference contest. Asked after the game about the final sequence on offense, the message from head coach Matt Wilber was simple.

"He sat there for a second. Then he looked at me and said, 'Rosey, go make a play,'" Rosenquist said. "'Make a play, drive it in, go kick it out or go make a bucket.' It was a good play drawn up by (Coach Wilber)."

Though only a freshman for the Tigers this season, Rosenquist has been asked in big spots to make those types of plays with the game on the line. The competitive nature from the Dakota Valley alum has allowed Wilber to lean on him and trust that he makes the right decision.

"The kid's a complete gamer," Wilber said. "He made a really good play. If somebody would've hugged in and helped, he would've been ready to kick (the ball) out. ... We had (Jakob) Dobney and Randy out there, and I was OK with either one of them making the play down the stretch."

Making the comeback even more improbable was where the Tigers were only 10 minutes prior to the final basket of the night.

It was a Rosenquist 3-pointer that capped a 7-0 DWU run near the halfway point of the first half. The Tigers were 3-of-4 from the 3-point line in the first seven minutes of the half, but were 2-of-12 for the remainder of the half. They were also outscored 29-18 by Briar Cliff, as Matthew Stilwill scored 19 of his 23 first-half points during that span.

The triples began to fall early in the second half, as Kallan Herman hit a pair of 3-pointers to put DWU ahead by one with 16:12 remaining. However, Briar Cliff went on a 11-3 run in 60 seconds, with Tyrus Eischeid scoring nine points en route to finishing with 18 for the game.

The run by the Chargers prompted Wilber to make a line change, reminding his group of starters to clean things up on the defensive end of the floor.

"We were leaving our feet on shot fakes," he said. "We were not running or sprinting to where we were supposed to be. It was, 'Hey, let's try to eliminate some mistakes defensively to give ourselves a chance on what we were trying to do."

The second unit brought the lead down to six against the Chargers' starters when Diang Gatluak hit a triple during a sequence that started with him blocking Eischeid's layup. Briar Cliff brought the lead back to the largest of the night for either side, going up 13 with 10:16 left in the game.

When the starters returned, Herman continued his shooting display from the 3-point line. He finished the game scoring 12 of his 13 points in the second half all on triples, going 4-of-5 behind the arc, while also helping the Tigers build confidence

"It was a huge confidence boost," Herman said. "I was able to find some open spots and it just showed us we were not done yet."

DWU went on a 7-0 run to bring the lead down to four points for Briar Cliff. Dobney's layup with six minutes left in the game brought the lead down to two, and Herman's 3-pointer from long range off a Chargers turnover put the Tigers ahead. After trading the lead six times in the final four minutes, Stilwill hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 23 seconds left, setting up the final sequence for the Tigers.

Jamison Helmers raced down the court and found Stilwill in the corner, but he was unable to get the final shot off in time as the buzzer sounded, completing the Tigers victory.

Rosenquist led DWU with 19 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Dobney added 15 points, and Blaze Lubbers ended with 10 points and nine rebounds. Sam Aslesen had eight points and a game-high three blocks. The Tigers shot 50% from the field in the second half and 52.9% from the 3-point line.

Stilwill scored a game-high 37 points for Briar Cliff (13-10, 7-8 GPAC), taking 25 of the Chargers' 60 total shots. Outside of Stilwill and Eischied, the rest of the team combined for 23 points, with 11 points coming courtesy of Helmers, who was 4-of-6 from the field.

DWU (14-10, 9-7 GPAC) now looks ahead to its 2:45 p.m. tilt against Concordia on Sunday at the Corn Palace.

DWU men 79, Briar Cliff (Iowa) 78

Briar Cliff (13-10, 7-8 GPAC): Wil Lugar 1-3 0-0 2 Quinn Vesey 2-7 1-2 6 Tyrus Eischeid 8-16 0-1 18 Jamison Helmers 4-6 0-0 11 Matthew Stilwell 15-25 3-3 37 Kamden Wingert 0-0 0-0 0 Colby Collison 2-3 0-1 4 Totals 32-60 4-7 78.

Dakota Wesleyan (14-10, 9-7 GPAC): Blaze Lubbers 4-8 0-0 10 Randy Rosenquist Jr. 7-15 2-2 19 Jakob Dobney 6-17 2-2 15 Sam Aslesen 3-4 0-0 8 Kallan Herman 4-8 1-2 13 Oliver Vincent 2-2 1-1 6 Nick Wittler 0-1 0-0 0 Ethan Determan 0-5 2-2 2 Kaden Year 1-1 0-0 2 Diang Gatluak 1-3 1-2 4 Totals 28-64 9-11 79

Halftime: BC 36-33. 3-point field goals: BC 10-23 (Lugar 0-2, Vesey 1-3, Eischeid 2-5, Helmers 3-5, Stilwill 4-7, Collison 0-1), DWU 14-33 (Lubbers 2-4, Rosenquist Jr. 3-8, Dobney 1-7, Aslesen 2-2, Herman 4-6, Vincent 1-1, Wittler 0-1, Determan 0-3, Gatluak 1-1). Rebounds-offensive: BC 32-5 (Lugar 6, Vesey 6, Eischeid 6), DWU 34-9 (Lubbers 9, Rosenquist Jr. 9). Total fouls: BC 14, DWU 15. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None. Assists: BC 9 (Lugar 3), DWU 13 (Rosenquist Jr. 7). Turnovers: BC 15, DWU 13. Blocks: BC 4 (Lugar 2, Vesey, Eischeid), DWU 8 (Aslesen 3, Rosenquist Jr. 2, Gatluak 2, Dobney). Steals: BC 5 (Vesey 2, Stilwill 2, Helmers), DWU 8 (Rosenquist Jr. 2, Gatluak 2, Lubbers, Dobney, Herman, Determan).