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This weekend’s Perkins Classic men’s basketball tournament in Spearfish looks to be the Dakota Athletic Conference vs. the Great Plains Athletic Conference as South Dakota School of Mines and Black Hills State will square off with the Morningside College Mustangs and the Northwestern College Red Raiders Friday and Saturday at the Young Center
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- This weekend’s Perkins Classic men’s basketball tournament in Spearfish looks to be the Dakota Athletic Conference vs. the Great Plains Athletic Conference as South Dakota School of Mines and Black Hills State will square off with the Morningside College Mustangs and the Northwestern College Red Raiders Friday and Saturday at the Young Center.
The Hardrockers will take on Morningside College Friday in a 6 p.m. bout. The Mustangs enter play riding a 9-5 overall record. They aren’t ranked in the latest NAIA poll but did get honorable mention.
Unlike the Hardrockers, the Mustangs are in short supply of seniors, rostering just one (Mike Laue). The bulk of the team is comprised of juniors with seven listed in the lineup. The rest of the squad is comprised of three sophomores and three freshmen.
“They are definitely a guard orientated team,” said Hardrocker head coach Jason Henry. “They start four guards.”
Morningside is paced by a pair of juniors who are both averaging over 15 points a game. Junior guard Jack Rother leads the way, averaging19.5 points, while fellow junior Thomas Pargett is scoring 16.36 each time out. Rother has 273 total points on the season while Pargett has netted 229. Pargett is deadly from behind the arc this season with a 51.5 percent in the 14 games they have played (converted 35-68). But Henry added that the Mustangs also have some sharpshooters that come in off the bench and camp out on the perimeter.
“They like to penetrate and kick it out to those guys that are spot-up shooters and knock it down,” Henry said. “That’s what we have been preparing for this week. We have to make sure we handle them off the dribble and get out to that shooter.”
South Dakota Mines will definitely have a height advantage. The Mustang’s tallest player is listed at 6-foot while the Hardrockers' smallest player measures in at 6-1.
“They press the whole time and will run some man-to-man stuff,” Henry said of Morningside “They want to get the game going. We are going to have some height advantage and some strength in the post so I see them trying to slow us down a little bit.”
Friday game is also believed to be the first time the two teams have ever met.
In Saturday’s game, The Hardrockers will face another tough test in NAIA Div. II No. 23 ranked Red Raiders. Northwestern has a 9-5 record and come into the weekend’s event having their four-game win streak snapped on Dec. 16 when they lost to William Jewell, 78-82.
Prior to that loss, the Raiders won three straight GPAC games and then upended 14th-ranked Park University (NAIA D-I), 93-80.
Northwestern is led by juniors Chad Schuiteman and Curt Schilling who average 17.1 and 16.3 points per game, respectively. Mark De Younge, also a junior, averages 9.1 a game and is shooting 44 percent from the three-point line. Sophomore guard Andrew Stimson has dished out 43 assists along with his 6.6 a game average.
“They are more of a conventional team and like to use a couple forward and have a couple of really good guards,” Henry said. “They are little bit different of a matchup for us (compared to Morningside).” Mines is led by 6-7 senior Casey Schmitz who paces the team in scoring (13.8 a game) and rebounding (5.2 a game). Schmitz, who earned DAC Player-of-the-Week earlier this season, is shooting 55 percent from the field. Senior guard Brandon Fredrickson is the only other Hardrocker averaging in double figures at 10. He is also the team's top three-point shooter, making 18-58 attempts.
The Perkins Classic will end a six-game stint on the road for the Hardrockers, who haven’t had a home game since the US Bank Thanksgiving Classic back in late November.
“It’s good to be around here,” said Henry of the Spearfish tournament. “These will be our last games in December on the road and then we are finally at home. But if I am going to be on the road it’s nice to be at BH. They do an excellent job of running the tournament and getting the fans to come out and watch.”
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