North Dakota State College of Science found themselves in a gritty battle against Northeast Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 16. The pair of teams traded blows all game long as the Wildcats gutted out a 61-50 victory in the NDSCS AmericInn Classic.
“I thought we played well. Those are grid-out games. You’ve got to really lock in defensively and try not to get too frustrated on the offensive end in those kinds of games,” NDSCS coach Tom Dryburgh said. “We built the lead every quarter and it didn’t feel like it except in that last quarter. We just grounded one out and you’ve got to do that sometimes.”
The Cats were plus-12 in the second-chance points category, which played a major key in the 11-point victory. Their extra opportunities were even more of a factor considering they were held to 31 percent shooting from the field.
“We’ve got to do that to win basketball games. We’ve got to get those second-chance opportunities as much as possible,” Dryburgh said. “We’re still not at the point where I feel like we’re locked in on the offensive end, so to continue to score you have to attack that glass.”
One of the players pounding the offensive glass was Kate Carlson. The sophomore big pulled down eight offensive boards on her way to 13 points. After being a point away from a double-double the night before, Carlson accomplished the feat with a team-high 14 points.
“(Carlson) had a good weekend,” Dryburgh said. “She played strong. You need that from your fives. They need to have that toughness and that durability in the paint.”
Science’s other center, Nikki Metcalfe, was struggling to get her shots to fall inside. The Arkansas Tech signee made up for it with a trio of triples in an 11-point effort.
“(Metcalfe’s shooting) definitely helps. She has that ability and that range,” Dryburgh said. “That’s part of her game and part of what she does. It was nice for her to contribute in that way for us.”
Next up for NDSCS (5-1) is a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 battle with Ridgewater College.
Northeast Nebraska is one of the toughest non-conference games every year for North Dakota State College of Science. This year’s battle on Saturday, Nov. 16 saw NDSCS stave off their foes and pull away with an 89-75 victory.
The game was tight throughout the first half, but a run from NDSCS gave them a dozen-point cushion heading into halftime. Defensive adjustments helped spark the flurry of buckets.
“I thought that we had a really tough time guarding them man for man and going to our matchup (zone) really helped keeping the ball in front of us a little bit more,” NDSCS coach Stu Engen said. “Plus it helped our offense because we were able to create some transition hoops and get some looks. I thought that was a big turning point.”
Science put together another run in the second half to give themselves a comfortable lead, but the Hawks weren’t going to go quietly. Northeast rallied to cut the lead to single digits, but crucial mistakes down the stretch allowed NDSCS to close out the win.
“I thought they had a couple turnovers and a missed dunk and we were able to capitalize on a few of those things,” Engen said. “I thought we got a little sloppy with the ball in the second half, too, but luckily they were the team that did it in the closing minutes.”
Duoth Gach was a sparkplug whenever Science needed a bucket. The sophomore drilled seven 3s on his way to a team-high 25 points. He also led the team in steals with five.
“(Gach is) ready all the time to shoot. It’s fun to play with him,” Khari Broadway said.
While Gach was lighting it up from outside, Broadway was torching the defense with his ferocious driving ability. The freshman point guard poured in 22 points with 14 of them coming inside. Broadway also led his team in assists with six.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me when I kind of had a mismatch at some points. It was fun,” Broadway said.
Diang Gatluak was also dialed in from 3-point land. He sank all three of the trey balls he put up, including a circus bank shot.
“It’s fun to play with them because we have shooters and we have guys who can play real good on the outside,” Broadway said. “I told them every time, ‘If they come collapsing on me, be ready to shoot, because I’m going to find you every time.’”
Gatluak’s solid floor game was rounded out with five boards, three assists and another trio in the steals column.
Next up for NDSCS (4-1) is a 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 home bout against Ridgewater College.