The North Dakota State College of Science hosted Dawson Community College for a two-game series Feb. 20-21. The Wildcats fell Saturday to the Buccaneers 75-72, but came back Sunday and won 83-71 after coming back from nine points down in the second half.
On Saturday, the Wildcats were down as many as 18 points and almost came back to beat the Buccaneers. During the game, Head Coach Stu Engen received two technical fouls, which led to an ejection and a suspension of one game. Assistant Coach Jordan Burton filled in for Engen on Sunday and led the team to their first victory over Dawson in their last six outings.
We’re fortunate that Stu has over 30 years of coaching players and coaching coaches as well,” Burton said. “Our staff is so connected in terms of what we needed to do and what we wanted to do.” Burton gave major credit to Assistant Coach Brad Shaw for their game plan going into Sunday.
“Their effort is what really changed over the last 24 hours, nothing else.” Burton said.
Maliik Cooper had a tremendous second half on Sunday for the Wildcats. He had 12 points and was a big spurt for the Wildcats in the second half. He went 4 for 6 from the three-point range in the second half received great praise from Burton.
“He’s the best shooter in our program, Burton said. “We told him in film, you shoot it, that’s what you do. You just gotta keep shooting shots,” Burton said.
Cooper went 1 for 7 from three-point range and had five points on Saturday. Burton giving Cooper the green light in the second half on Sunday, which shifted the momentum for the Wildcats and earned them the weekend split. Anthony Ignowski had a season-high 23 points for the Wildcats off the bench. The team shot 47.8 percent from three-point range and outscored the Buccaneers 53-32 in the second half.
Dawson entered the weekend as the top team in the Mon-Dak Conference. They leave the weekend just a half game up on the Wildcats in the conference standings. North Dakota College of Science has a two-game road slate against Miles Community College Feb. 24-25. They will be back home Sunday, Feb. 28 against Bismarck State College.