Buccaneers execute late to pull out win over United Tribes
After losing two straight close games in conference, the Dawson Community College Buccaneers executed better down the stretch and pulled out a 3-point 76-73 victory over the United Tribes Technical College Thunderbirds. Reece Green got the game off to a good start with a good bucket inside on a pass from Tate Savoie.
On the next possession Green found Simon Falokun inside to put the Bucs up 4-0. Shayden Keplin answered back with a 3-pointer for UTTC.
The game stayed close for the opening ten minutes until DCC built a lead with a 3-pointer from Travon Hamilton, a field goal and free throw by Bret Vester and then a 3-pointer by Brent Finn which put the Bucs up by 10 at 28-18. The pace in the first half was pretty frenetic and it didn’t take long for the Thunderbirds to work their way back into it. They went on a 10-0 run with a basket by Sam Pendleton and two straight 3’s by Montel Carlow. Robert Beaulieu tied the game with a driving lay-up. After more back and forth, up and down action, United Tribes closed the half with two free-throws by Bearpaw Mosely to draw within two points at 38-36.
The first half included four ties and 2 lead changes and both teams turned it over 11 times. The shooting percentages for both teams were similar, but the Bucs controlled the boards 30-20, including a 13-6 advantage on the offensive glass. The visitors hit 7 from long range to DCC’s 2. Keplin led the Tribes in scoring with 10 while DCC had a balanced attack with eight players getting in the scoring column.
The Thunderbirds turned their 2-point half-time deficit into a 7 point lead and it only took them a little over five minutes to do it. I
nstead of scoring from the outside like they did in the first half, they did their damage inside the arc and from the free throw line to start the 2nd half. They were also aided by a couple of Buccaneer turnovers. The home team fought back with a mid-range jumper from Michele Capasso and a couple of free throws by Falokun. Taylan Barrett tied it up at the 11:22 mark with a 3-pointer. The lead changed hands 6 times in the 2nd half though the Buccaneers took the lead for good with 4 minutes remaining when Harper gathered in his own miss and laid it in for a 69-68 lead.
With the Bucs clinging to a 3 point lead and less than a minute left, they ran the shot-clock down and Harper drove for a lay-up to make it a 2 possession game. The Tribes answered back quickly with a 3-pointer from Ernest Grant seven seconds later. Finn made a free throw and then the Bucs got a defensive stop on the last possession, forcing a desperation heave as the clock wound down.
The biggest difference in the game was a rebound differential of 16 in favor of Dawson, including a difference of 10 on the offensive glass which gave the home team a 20-3 advantage in 2nd chance points. Dawson’s bench also outscored UTTC 33-16. Falokun and Harper led the way. Falokun finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Harper had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 6 steals. Finn also finished in double digits, scoring 11 points. Ten players were in the scoring column for DCC and ten players collected at least 1 rebound.
For the Thunderbirds, Keplin scored 16, McClain scored 12 and two others were in double figures, but all of them were held below their season scoring averages.
DCC Coach Joe Peterson was pleased with the effort, “I thought we played really hard tonight and played better team basketball. Most importantly, we executed well late in the game tonight. There was a stretch in the 2nd half where we got several stops in a row on the defensive end. Having Reece Green back in the starting lineup was also a boost to our energy tonight.”
The win moves Dawson to 15-6 on the season and 2-2 in conference. United Tribes drops to 16-5 overall and 1-2 in the league. Dawson will travel to Bottineau, North Dakota to take on Dakota College on Monday night and then will return home for another Thursday night game next week.