North Dakota State College of Science had a pair of tough foes ahead of them in the Dakota County Technical College Classic over the weekend. Science buried a dozen 3s in each of the games, taking down Rochester Community and Technical College 86-75 on Friday, Jan. 4 and following it up the next day with an 81-73 victory over Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
“We’re a good shooting team. Rochester especially has given us problems in the past and our guys came in with the realization that we better play well or we’re not going to get that one,” NDSCS coach Stu Engen said. “I get a little frustrated sometimes that I don’t think we’ve reached the level that we’re capable of playing yet, but we are progressing, we are developing and we won two games at that thing. That hasn’t happened in a few years so that’s a fairly decent sign.”
Noble Cooper hit on four of his five 3-point attempts on his way to 22 points in the first game of the tournament for NDSCS. He also led the team in assists and steals with seven and two, respectively.
“Noble’s really developing into a good player. He’s a skilled offensive kid that can score it a lot of different ways,” Engen said. “He can shoot the 3, probably has the best mid-range game and he can post a little bit, too. He’s a very creative offensive guy.”
Mohamed Kone was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 18 along with a team-high eight rebounds. Kone hit on a couple of 3s in a 12/23 perimeter showing from NDSCS.
Day 2 of the tourney saw Duoth Gach take the reigns as the top scorer with 19. All 10 of his field goal attempts were 3s and six of them found their mark. His half a dozen rebounds were also first on the team.
“They wanted to go zone a lot because they didn’t like their matchups,” Engen said. “It’s pretty dangerous if you can get yourself open and (Gach) got off to a good start.”
Another lights-out game from 3-point land saw Science end the game shooting 54.5 percent. Their only drawback in the outing was the team’s 24 turnovers.
“We’ve been turning it all year long. That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Engen said. “Everything we do offensively and defensively is right on track with some of the better teams, but the one thing we’re not on target with is we turn the ball over way too much.”
The Cats (14-2) enter conference play with a six-game winning streak. They’re scheduled to play Williston State College on the road at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10 following the Lady Wildcats’ game.