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Wildcat men make it 10 straight

December 17, 2018

WAYNE — Wayne State started slow but finished with a flurry in their 72-52 win Saturday over the University of Minnesota-Crookston at Rice Auditorium.

The win improves the Wildcat men to 5-0 in league play and 10-1 overall.

“We didn’t look very good in the first half, but our defense was good the entire game,” Wayne State coach Jeff Kaminsky said. “Our defense was locked in — you can always fall back on defense.”

The Golden Eagles scored the first bucket just 18 seconds into the game, but it would be five minutes later before either team would score again.

“They (Minnesota-Crookston) were trying to muck up the game and they did just that,” Kaminsky said. “We looked up and we were behind by a bucket.”

But Vance Janssen hit a pair of free throws with 14:59 left in the first half to tie the score and break the ice for the Wildcats.

The game was even again at 15 before Vance Janssen scored two of his 14 points on the night with 7:20 left before the half to put the Wildcats in the lead for good.

WSC then went on a 9-2 run, paced by Trevin Joseph, who had three steals and a bucket during the run.

“We believe in each other and care about each other,” Joseph said. “We know our teammates are right behind us, working just as hard to get us over the top.”

Despite going 0 for 7 from behind the arc, Joseph would finish with a game-high 18 points.

“We know as long as we buckle down on defense we’ll be OK,” Joseph said.

The Golden Eagles would come back to within 24-22 with 4:11 to go before the break, but a three-pointer from Kendall Jacks, a Joseph bucket and a Tony Donner charity toss made it 30-22.

The Wildcats completed a 10-2 run after a layup from Janssen made it 34-24 with :54 on the clock in the opening half.

WSC allowed 14 points off of turnovers in the opening half but took care of the ball and iced the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a 51-36 lead with 9:07 left in the game after Janssen made one of two free throws.

“If we stay focused on the next point of the next game, we’ll be fine,” Kaminsky said. “We just can’t get ahead of ourselves in this conference — any team could beat you at anytime.”

The Wildcats remained unbeaten on the year in Northern Sun Conference play, but Kaminsky knows they could just as easily be 0-5.

“In this conference, you need to have some luck and come out ready to play every night,” he said. “We need to stay focused on what’s right in front of us and not think ahead.”

In the women’s game, Wayne State used a strong fourth quarter to turn back the Golden Eagles 88-83 after trailing 66-59 after three frames.

“We’re kind of the walking wounded,” WSC coach Brent Pollari said. “We didn’t have enough players to scrimmage the other day in practice. We just need to get everyone healthy and ready to play.”

Despite a rash of injuries on the team, the Wildcat women improved to 7-3 on the young season and 3-2 in the conference.

“I’m really happy where we’re at right now,” the first-year WSC coach said. “We’re learning a new system and still competing at a very high level - we just need to keep working hard to get better.”

Men’s game

Minnesota-Crookston 27 25 — 52

Wayne State 34 38 — 72

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-CROOKSTON (7-6, 1-4): Harrison Cleary 4 0-0 9; Ben Juhl 4 3-4 12; Gable Smith 3 0-0 6; Chase Knickerbocker 0 1-2 1; Josh Collins 1 0-0 2; Malcolm Cohen 0 1-2 1; Darin Viken 2 0-0 5; Brian Sitzmann 4 0-0 8; Chase Johnson 0 1-2 1; Javier Nicolau 3 1-2 7.

WAYNE STATE COLLEGE (10-1, 5-0): Kendall Jacks 5 3-3 15; Trevin Joseph 9 0-0 18; Nick Ferrarini 1 0-0 3; Vance Janssen 3 7-8 14; Jordan Janssen 4 3-4 11; Al’Tavius Jackson 1 1-1 3; Luke TerHark 1 0-0 3; Nosa Iyagbaye 1 0-0 2; Tony Bonner 1 1-2 3.

Women’s game

Minnesota-Crookston 24 15 27 17 — 83

Wayne State 20 15 24 29 — 88

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-CROOKSTON (7-4, 2-3): Caitlin Michaelis 5 0-0 15; Kylie Post 3 2-2 9; Isieoma Odor 13 3-3 29; Bren Fox 4 2-2 10; Paige Weakly 5 0-0 14; Ashley Freund 1 0-0 3; Kylea Praska 1 0-0 3.

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