January 6, 2014
THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University men's basketball team (7-9 overall record) looks to bounce back in the winning column Wednesday evening. The Trojans play their only game of the week at nationally-ranked Bellevue (Neb.) - No. 14 in the latest NAIA Division II Men's Basketball 'Top 25' national poll - at Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bellevue, Neb.
HALE SELECTED AS 1ST-EVER NSAA PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK: The North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) has selected Dylan Hale of Dakota State (S.D.) as its first-ever men's basketball player-of-the-week, announced on Jan. 6 (today). Hale scored at least 20 points in a pair of games last week, despite losing to a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference foes. He scored a season-high 27 points off the bench in 80-72 home loss to long-time rival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) on Dec. 30. Hale shot 10-for-18 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added 20 points in 83-65 home defeat to No. 15 Midland (Neb.) on Jan. 4. Hale was 4-for-8 from the 3-point line in each game last week. For the week, he averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal per game for the Trojans. He was 16-for-34 from the field (47.1 percent), including 8 3-pointers in 16 attempts (50 percent). Hale was 7-for-10 from the free-throw line (70 percent).
TROJANS VS. NATIONALLY-RANKED TEAMS: This Wednesday's game marks the seventh time this season that Dakota State had faced teams ranked from the NAIA Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 national poll. The Trojans are 1-5 record against NAIA's 'Top 25' teams, including an 80-77 neutral site defeat to NAIA Division I member—Evangel (Mo.) on Nov. 29 in Fremont, Neb. DSU recorded a victory against nationally-ranked team on Nov. 6 versus then-No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa) 78-72, ending Trojans' nine-game losing streak versus the Red Raiders. Bellevue is currently No. 14 in the latest NAIA Division II Men's Basketball 'Top 25' national poll. The new national poll will be released Tuesday afternoon.
TROJANS LOOK TO END LOSING SKID TO GIVE GARNER 450TH WIN: The Trojans are looking to end their three-game losing streak on Wednesday evening at Bellevue (Neb.). Dakota State's head coach Gary Garner is just one win shy to reach his 450th career collegiate coaching victory. He is currently at 449-360 career overall coaching records that included victories at Southeast Missouri State, Fort Hays State (Kan.), Drake (Iowa) and Missouri Southern. Garner's overall record at Dakota State is 76-63, a winning percentage of 54.7 percent.
DISHING OUT: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Monday, Dakota State is ranked 17th in the nation in total assists with 255 assists. The Trojans are 24th in the nation in assists per game with an average of 15.9 assists. Cameron Robinson averages 5.2 assists per game, ranking him 25th-best in the nation. He is 44th in the nation in total assists with 62 and 48th in assist/turnover ratio of 2.5.
STELLAR DEFENSE: Dakota State limited its opponents to 40.1 percent shooting from the field, ranking them 10th-best in the nation. In addition, the Trojans are ranked 10th in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (29 defensive rebounds per game). DSU recorded 58 blocks through 16 games this season, which is 17th-best in the nation. The Trojans stole the ball 131 times this season (21st best in the nation). Dakota State limited their opponents to 70.4 points per game (28th in the nation) and 32.4 percent 3-point field goal shooting (36th in the nation).
DOUBLE DIGITS SCORING: DSU have five different players that are averaging in double digits this season. Yusuf Vinson averages 14.8 points per game, followed by his teammates Dylan Hale with 14.6 points per game, Miguel Sansavour 11.1 points, Adam Hofer 10.2 points and Marcus Smith 10.0 points. As a team, Dakota State shoots 45.5 percent from the field through 16 games this season.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State dropped a pair of home games against members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) at DSU Fieldhouse. The Trojans fell short to long-time rival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 80-72 on Dec. 30 to end their 2013 calendar year. DSU kicked off their 2014 calendar year on Jan. 4, but lost to No. 15 Midland (Neb.) by the score of 83-65. Bellevue started their 2014 calendar year with a pair of victories in the College of the Ozarks Classic last weekend in Point Lookout, Mo.—the site of NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament. The Bruins recorded a 98-85 victory over MidAmerican Nazarene (Kan.) on Jan. 3 and 87-50 victory over Ecclesia (Ark.) on Jan. 4.
LAST MEETING: Bellevue (Neb.) won the last meeting with Dakota State on Nov. 9 in the Dakota Wesleyan/Fulton State Bank Classic at the Corn Palace. The Bruins came on top by the score of 85-73. The Trojans opened the game with a 5-0 run, BU answered back with a 6-0 run for a 6-5 lead. Bellevue went on to a 49-35 halftime lead and held on to their lead for the rest of the game to secure the victory. Dakota State could get no closer than six points at 68-62 with 8:22 remaining in the game, but the Bruins closed the game with a 17-11 scoring run.
TEAM LEADERS: Yusuf Vinson leads the scoring for the Trojans with 14.8 points per game. He shoots 52.7 percent from the field. Vinson leads the team with 135 rebounds and averages 8.4 rebounds per game. Cameron Robinson records 62 assists (5.2 assists per game) and 22 steals (1.8 steals per game). Taylor Zirbel leads the team with seven blocked shots and averaged 0.6 blocks per game for the Trojans.
WATCH & LISTEN: Bellevue (Neb.) will be providing a live video/audio webcast for DSU-BU men's basketball game on Wednesday night. Fans can go to http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/bellevue.portal# to view the live video and listen to the live audio. The links are also available on www.dsuathletics.com in the rotating/scrolling calendar of events under the news articles.
LIVE STATS/PLAY-BY-PLAY: Bellevue (Neb.) will be providing the live stats/play-by-play for Trojans-Bruins men's basketball game on Wednesday. It can be found on http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=35790. The links are also available on www.dsuathletics.com in the rotating/scrolling calendar of events under the news articles.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State men's basketball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State will take a week off before returning back to action on Wednesday, Jan. 15 as they travel to Sioux City, Iowa to take on Morningside, Iowa at 7 p.m. The Trojans return home on Saturday, Jan. 18 as they entertain their former long-time conference foe and current NCAA Division II member South Dakota Mines. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at DSU Fieldhouse in Madison, S.D.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director