SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Midland University’s men’s basketball team dropped its fifth consecutive conference game on Saturday after failing to keep pace on offense once again.
The Warriors (10-17, 5-13 GPAC) fell to the Dordt College Defenders (18-10, 10-8 GPAC) by a final score of 76-56 as the team faded down the stretch.
After taking an early lead, the Warriors traded baskets with the Defenders for much of the first half. Midland was 6-12 from three-point range in the first half while Dordt started cold and connected on just one long-range shot.
Midland held a two-point lead with just over seven minutes still to play in the half, but the Defenders didn’t allow their poor outside shooting to impact the game.
Dordt finished the half on an 18-4 run to take a 43-31 lead into the locker room. After playing solid basketball for 13 minutes, the Warriors weren’t able to stop the game from getting away from them.
The Defenders never let up after ending the second half on such a remarkable scoring run in a game that, until that point, didn’t seem to be trending toward a lopsided finish. Dordt slowly grew its lead in the second half as the margin rose to as high as 27 points before the Defenders finished off the 20-point conference victory.
Dordt was led in scoring by reserve Zach Bussard who finished with 18 points thanks to a perfect 7-7 showing from the field. The junior forward also grabbed seven rebounds and added two assists, one steal, and one block to his final stat line.
Other double-digit scorers for the Defenders included starters Garrett Franken, Josh VanLingen, and Chad Barkema who finished with 15, 13, and 11 points, respectively. VanLingen was a perfect 6-6 from the field and nearly recorded a double-double as he corralled nine rebounds on the afternoon.
Midland was led by senior forward Reggie Gradwell’s 15 points thanks to 5-10 shooting from three-point range. Freshman guard Dillon Faubel also finished in double figures and added five rebounds and two assists to his 10-point showing.
Junior forward Isaiah Workman got the start and netted eight points while adding six rebounds.
With the exception of three-point shooting, Dordt was better than Midland in nearly every category on Saturday. The Warriors turned the ball over 16 times compared to just nine giveaways for the Defenders and were outrebounded 44-32 (12-6 on the offensive glass).
Depth also continued to be an issue for the Warriors who seem to grow thinner and thinner each week. Without senior Luke Cadzow and Workman starting in his place, the Midland bench was outscored by Dordt’s 29-14. Freshman Malik Martin and sophomore Laurence Merritt each contributed six while freshman Emanuel Bryson added one basket.
With the GPAC Tournament still narrowly in reach, the Warriors have two more regular season games to try and make up ground on the Concordia Bulldogs for the eighth seed.
The Warriors play their final regular season road game on Wednesday, February 13th when they take on the Hastings College Broncos (17-11, 8-10 GPAC). Then-No. 19 Hastings defeated Midland 64-60 in the season’s first meeting back on November 28. Tipoff for the rematch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. in Hastings, Nebraska.