The Dawson Community College Buccaneers opened up their Mon-Dak Conference season with a little revenge on United Tribes Technical College. Back in the pre-season conference tournament Dawson controlled the first 30 minutes of the game, but UTTC came from behind to force overtime where they won by four points. Dawson turned it over 33 times in that game. This time around in Bismarck the first 30 minutes went the same way as the first game; fortunately for the Bucs, the last ten minutes were different. Dawson led by 10 points at half-time and kept their margin pretty close to that for the entire second half, winning 87-78 on the Thunderbirds home court.
DCC jumped out to an early 16-6 lead behind the hot shooting of Camron Dunfee and Hunter McKinney. UTTC came fighting back to take the lead as the first half saw two ties and six lead changes. In the closing minutes of the opening half, Dawson asserted themselves with some key steals, strong rebounding by Reece Green and some timely buckets by CJ Nelson. Dawson outrebounded the Thunderbirds while also scoring more from the free throw line and three point line in the first twenty minutes. Dunfee scored 12, Nelson had 8 and Marcus Stephens scored 9 to give the Bucs a ten point cushion going into the intermission.
The Bucs continued to handle the ball well out of the gates in the second half. The closest UTTC would get in the second half was a six point deficit with five minutes to go. Dawson maintained a small advantage in rebounding and forcing turnovers in the final twenty minutes. The Thunderbirds shot a blistering 54% in the second half, but the visitors had a big advantage outscoring the home team 19-4 from the free throw line. The Dawson bench also had a 29-13 advantage. All ten players who got in the game scored for the Bucs and nine of them scored 6 points or more. Nine also collected at least one rebound. Dawson had their biggest lead of the night at 82-66 with two minutes to go. United Tribes scored a few buckets in the final minute to close the game on a 12-5 run, but it wasn’t enough and the Bucs came away with the nine point road victory.
Stephens led Dawson with 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Dunfee scored 16 points on 7-10 shooting. Nelson finished with 12 points. Devin Collins and Reece Green each grabbed 9 rebounds. Montel Carlow scored 21 for UTTC and Tyree Florence-Patton contributed 17. Rob McClain had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Dawson Coach Joe Peterson was happy with the effort, “That’s a great way to start out our conference season. We did a much better job handling the press and taking care of the ball this time around. We have grown a lot as a team in the past two months and I think we will keep getting better. Our depth was a big factor tonight and we were able to do a pretty good job limiting their best player offensively. Reece and Devin were huge on the boards while Cam and Hunter’s outside shooting really gave us a boost.”
DCC remains on the road to play Lake Region early on Sunday afternoon. They will return home next Thursday to face defending champions North Dakota State College of Science.