WSC vs Bellevue

WSC vs Bellevue

WAYNE — Wayne State came home for the first game of its 2021-22 men's basketball season and won its first game after a couple of tough losses on the road.

The Wildcats were defeated in their first two games 74-61 by Oklahoma Baptist and 80-64 by Southeastern Oklahoma State before punching through here in their home opener against Bellevue at Rice Auditorium 74-40.

"I felt like our defense played really well here tonight," Wayne State coach Jeff Kaminsky said. "I told our guys before the game to not underestimate these guys, they are a really good team and could have easily come in here 6-1 or 5-2."

Evidently Kaminsky's team listened as the Wildcats never trailed in the contest and sprinted to a 21-point advantage in the first 20 minutes of the game.

A Ben Dentlinger dunk with 17 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first half made it 7-4 and then another Dentlinger jumper in the paint made it 9-4.

Justin Eagins hit a 3-pointer with just over 16 minutes to go in the half and Wayne State was on its way at 12-4.

"I wanted us to be aggressively patient, if that makes any sense," Kaminsky said. "I meant I wanted to stay aggressive on both ends of the court, but I didn't want us to just go down the court and fire up the first shot we could find. I wanted us to make the extra pass and make a good shot a better shot."

After leading 44-23 at the intermission, the Wildcats got defensive to open the second half, stopping the Bruins on their first seven possessions of the final 20 minutes.

"I thought that was where we were hitting on all cylinders," Kaminsky said. "We really shut them down and kind of put the game away from there."

A Jordan Janssen steal and slam with 14:55 left in the game made it 55-25 and a Justin Eagins short jumper in the lane a little over a minute later pushed the advantage to 59-26.

"I liked the way we kept pressuring defensively, especially early in the second half," Kaminsky said. "I felt if we stayed aggressive defensively, the offense would come along with the effort."

A Nate Thayer long ball got the lead back to 33 with 8:33 left in the game and the Wildcats coasted to the 74-40 final after a 3 from Shea Sweetland late in the contest.

The win over Bellevue opens a big home stand here at Rice Auditorium.

The Wildcats are set to host Simpson College on Friday; open Northern Sun Conference action against Augustana on Tuesday, Nov. 23; Doane College on Saturday, Nov. 27, and finish November against the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Monday, Nov. 29.

"We'll try to gain some momentum here at home as we head into conference play," Kaminsky said. "I really like where we're at, but we have a lot of work to do to get where we want to go."

Bellevue 23 17 — 40

Wayne State 44 30 — 74

BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY (3-5): Christian Carter 1 0-0 2; Martis Johnson 1 0-0 2; Eric Pierce 5 0-0 11; Paulo Araujo 2 0-0 5; Justin Motley 3 1-2 7; Taylor Pomeroy 2 4-5 8; Barrett Harms 2 1-1 5.

WAYNE STATE COLLEGE (1-2): Ben Dentlinger 3 0-0 6; Jordan Janssen 8 1-2 17; Alec Millender 1 2-2 4; Jay Saunders 0 2-2 2; Justin Eagins 5 1-2 12; Nate Mohr 2 0-0 6; Cody McCullough 2 0-0 5; Sean Stokes 3 0-0 7; Nate Thayer 2 1-1 6; Zach LaFave 1 0-0 2; Shea Sweetland 1 0-0 3; Noah Erickson 1 0-0 3.

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