MADISON, S.D. - In Dakota State University men's basketball regular-season finale Saturday evening at DSU Fieldhouse, Midland grabbed a ten-point halftime lead and held off DSU's second-half rally 68-65. It was the annual 'Think Blue' to help raise cancer awareness.
Dakota State, which finished their home regular-season schedule with a 9-6 record, dropped their overall record to 15-11. Midland won their fourth straight games and raised their record to 17-10. Both teams received votes to the latest NAIA Division II Men's Basketball national poll.
Midland held the Trojans to 18.8 percent shooting (3-fo-16 from the field) in the first nine minutes and 54 seconds to earn an 18-7 lead. The Warriors were 6-for-16 from the field (37.5 percent) during that stretch.
MU extended to the largest lead of the game at 29-15 with 4:24 remaining before halftime.
DSU was able to trim their deficit to ten points as the Warriors held a 36-26 intermission lead.
Midland shot 44.4 percent from the field (12-for-27) in the first-half compared to the Trojans' 29.6 percent (8-for-27).
Dakota State began the second-half with a 12-2 spurt to cut their deficit to 38-36 with 16:20 remaining.
With MU leading at 42-40 with 14:24 on the clock, the Warriors went on an 11-2 scoring run to grab a 53-42 lead with 11:17 left in the game.
The Trojans were able to get no closer than three points (65-62) with 1:10 remaining in the game.
Midland sealed the victory by nailing down 3-of-4 free throws in the final 11 seconds. DSU suffered two turnovers in the final two possessions of the game.
Keith Biggers recorded his fourth double-double of the season for the Trojans. He scored 18 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Biggers went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and 5-for-7 from the field. Jesse Bean added 14 points and dished out three assists. Donald Stewart had nine points (all from 3-pointers). Spencer Adams and Cameron Krump each added seven points.
Alex McCleary had 13 points off the bench for the Warriors. He was 4-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-3 from the 3-point arc. McCleary was 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Donald Jones added 12 points. Ben Imig scored 11 points and dished out six assists. Alex Knobbe had 11 points.
Both teams struggled from the field, shooting below 40 percent overall in the game. The Trojans shot 38.6 percent (17-for-44) compared to Midland 38.5 percent (20-for-52).
DSU was 27-for-35 from the free-throw line (77.1 percent) compared to the Warriors' 23-for-32 (71.9 percent).
Midland outrebounded the Trojans 36-34.
The Warriors outscored DSU 22-7 in points off turnovers.
It was the final home regular-season game for DSU's six seniors - Adams, Bean, Biggers, Stephen Klekas, Stewart and Chason Woods.
Dakota State looks to bounce back in the winning column as they head to western South Dakota for a pair of games against former Dakota Athletic Conference members. The Trojans kick off the weekend on Friday, Feb. 17 with a visit at Black Hills State. Tip-off from the Donald E. Young Gymnasium is set for 8:30 p.m. (Central Time)/7:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director