THIS WEEK: Dakota State (9-2 overall record) heads to Sioux City, Iowa Friday and Saturday to play a pair of games in the Morningside Classic, sponsored by Downtown Holiday Inn.
MORNINGSIDE CLASSIC: The Trojans will face a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foes in the Morningside Classic this weekend. Dakota State plays Briar Cliff (Iowa) (10-5, 3-4 GPAC record) on Friday at 3 p.m. On Saturday, host-team Morningside (6-9, 3-4 GPAC) will play DSU to conclude the two-day event at 7:30 p.m. The other team in the four-team classic is Friends (Kan.), facing the Mustangs on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Friends will play Briar Cliff on Saturday at 3 p.m. All games will be held at the RVSC-Allee Gym in Sioux City, Iowa.
VINSON EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR: On Dec. 24, the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) has selected DSU's Yusuf Vinson as its male athlete player of the week. Vinson came off the bench to record a double-double and led the Trojans to a 61-59 upset victory over No. 19 Bellevue (Neb.) on Dec. 21 at DSU Fieldhouse. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out three assists.
HISTORY LESSON: The last time DSU men's basketball recorded double digits wins for four straight season was from 1988-89 season through 1993-94 season (six straight seasons). The Trojans had 10 wins in 1988-89, 17 wins in 1989-90, 20 wins in 1990-91, 19 wins in 1991-92 (Final Four), 14 wins in 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. Since Gary Garner's arrival at Dakota State four years ago, DSU had recorded 11 wins in 2009-11, 15 wins in 2011-12 and 18 wins in 2011-12 (national tournament appearance). DSU had recorded back-to-back winning seasons last year. DSU was 18-13 overall record in 2011-12 and 15-14 in 2010-11, which marked the first time since 1989-93 seasons (four straight years of winning records) that DSU had recorded consecutive winning seasons.
LAST MEETING: As Dakota State earned a 39-34 halftime lead over No. 6 Briar Cliff in the Morningside Holiday Classic on Dec. 29, 2010, the Chargers outscored the Trojans 42-27 in the final twenty minutes of the game to gain a 77-66 victory in both teams' last meeting. DSU won the last meeting with Morningside on Nov. 13 at DSU Fieldhouse. The Trojans jumped to a 30-21 halftime lead, but the Mustangs rallied back to force the game into overtime (65-65). DSU outscored MC 11-8 in overtime to earn a 76-73 victory.
DSU RECEIVES VOTES TO NATIONAL POLL FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WEEK: For the third straight week, Dakota State received votes to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' 'Top 25' national poll, which was released on Dec. 11. The Trojans received four votes to the national poll. Briar Cliff received six votes to the national poll. Morningside appeared in the preseason coaches' national poll in the receiving votes section. The fourth-regular season Coaches' Top 25 national poll will be announced on Jan. 8, 2013.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State raced to the biggest lead of the game in the first-half on Dec. 21 versus No. 19 Bellevue (Neb.) at DSU Fieldhouse. The Bruins rallied back to tie the game late in the second-half, but the Trojans held on to upset Bellevue by the score of 61-59. The Trojans shot a blistering 60 percent in the first-half to gain a 40-25 halftime lead. BU rallied back to tie the game at 54-54 with 6:34 remaining in the game. Tyrone Gordon, Jr. made a jump shot inside the paint to break a 59-59 tie into a 61-59 lead with 26 seconds left. Bellevue missed their opportunity to tie the game as Darius Robinson missed two free-throws with :00.6 seconds remaining. Briar Cliff suffered 74-58 road contest at No. 13 Dordt (Iowa) on Dec. 15 in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Chargers shot 31.1 percent from the field while the Defenders were 51.7 percent from the field. Morningside split a pair of games in the Cruzin' Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Dec. 17 and 18. The Mustangs defeated Blue Mountain (Miss.) 87-70 on Dec. 17, but dropped a 96-60 double overtime game to Nova Southeaster on Dec. 18.
7-0 RECORDS: Dakota State is 7-0 in while earning a halftime lead this season. In addition, the Trojans are 7-0 when they had more rebounds than their opponent and DSU's bench outscored the opponent in the game.
GAMES DECIDED BY LESS THAN FOUR POINTS: The Trojans are 5-0 this season when the games are decided by less than four points. Dakota State won the last two games that were decided at least one point. DSU defeated Mayville State (N.D.) in an A.I.I. conference game in Mayville, N.D. on Dec. 15. The Trojans rallied back from a 15-point second-half deficit to earn an 82-81 thrilling overtime victory. DSU defeated nationally-ranked Bellevue on Dec. 21 by the score of 61-59 at DSU Fieldhouse.
DSU RANKS IN DEFENSE: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Wednesday, Dakota State ranks 14th in the nation in 3-point field goal defense (29.4 percent). The Trojans are 22nd in field goal defense (40 percent), 24th in scoring defense (64.7 points per game) and 30th in defensive rebounds per game (27.5).
TROJANS OFFENSE RANKS NATIONALLY: Dakota State ranks eighth nationally in free-throw percentage (74.4 percent). The Trojans are 15th in the nation in assists per game (16.5), 30th in field goal percentage (47 percent) and 44th in scoring offense per game (76.1).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: John Lamb leads DSU's offense attack with 13.9 points per game. He shoots 41.1 percent from the field. He ranks 14th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (3.1) and 50th in total 3-point field goals made (31). John Lamb records 35 assists (3.5 per game) and 16 steals (1.6 per game) for the Trojans. Yusuf Vinson averages 8.2 rebounds per game (90 total rebounds). He is 31st in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (2.9), 37th in total rebounds per game (8.2), 39th in free-throw percentage (80 percent) and 49th in defensive rebounds per game (5.3). Terrell Newton records eight blocked shots this season (0.7 blocks per game).
LIVE STATS: Morningside will be providing a live stats website throughout the two-day classic. Fans wanting to follow the action can go to the following link: http://www.qkstats.net/live/xlive.htm. The link also will be available on www.dsuathletics.com in the 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
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 begins their 2013 portion of the schedule with a two-game home stand against a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foes. The Trojans host Midland (Neb.) on Jan. 5 at DSU Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. DSU welcomes Dordt (Iowa) on Jan. 9 with a tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director