FOREST CITY – A strong finish propelled the Waldorf College men's basketball team to a 77-64 win over Oklahoma Wesleyan University during Saturday's Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference contest.
It was the second victory of the weekend for the Warriors (11-12, 7-2) as they pushed their winning streak to four games.
"Trying to find ways to win this time of year is everything," Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. "This league is tough and on any given night, you'll be pushed to the limit. I'm really happy we found a way to get two wins this weekend."
Senior Trey Scott led the Warriors (11-12, 7-2) with 20 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Waldorf's Jordan Nelson added 18 points and six boards. The senior center went 69 percent from the field on 9-of-13 shooting.
Brewer blocked four shots and had two assists. Parrish finished with five rebounds and four assists, generating a spark off the bench for the second straight night.
Cole Johnson scored 19 points to lead the Eagles (6-18, 0-9). Nikola Stjepanovic netted 15 points and CJ Ross ended the night with 13 points.
Waldorf's bench produced 27 points while the Eagles received 12 bench points.
"Our bench came in and gave us solid minutes in the first half," Jenkins said.
The Warriors utilized three different five-man rotations and led as many as 13 points in the opening half. Waldorf owned a 39-35 halftime advantage.
"I wanted to throw everybody to the fire and see how they'd react," Jenkins said. "I was happy that our guys were into the game."
Oklahoma Wesleyan was outscored 38-29 in the second half. The Eagles were held to an 11-of-30 (37-percent) shooting effort in the final 20 minutes after shooting 14-of-27 (52 percent) in the opening half.
"I thought the key to the game was our defense in the second half," Jenkins said.
Oklahoma Wesleyan led by four points on two different occasions in the second half. The score was tied at 55-all with 7 minutes, 25 seconds remaining, but the Warriors used a 22-9 run down the stretch to shake off a young Eagles team.
"They definitely have some talent," Jenkins said. "They've got quite a few guys that can shoot the ball and some guys that can get to the basket. They're just going to keep getting better."
Waldorf senior Devin Graham scored eight points off the bench. Freshman Pavle Mihajlovic closed out the game with five points and freshman Kaden Verdin contributed two points. The Warriors also received four assists from freshman Kaimen Slay.
Waldorf went 51 percent from the field, shooting 32-of-63. The Warriors went 8-of-22 (36 percent) from 3-point range and shot 5-of-6 (83 percent) at the free-throw line.
The Eagles ended the game, shooting 25-of-57 (44 percent) from the floor and 5-of-22 (23 percent) from the perimeter. They went 9-of-11 (82 percent) at the foul line.
Oklahoma Wesleyan outscored Waldorf 36-32 in the paint.
The Warriors controlled the boards by a 37-29 advantage. Staying committed to defense and rebounding paid off in crunch time.
"We've just got to keep doing those things going forward," Jenkins said.
Waldorf scored 19 points off 13 Oklahoma Wesleyan turnovers while defeating the Eagles for the second time this season. The Warriors turned the ball over 11 times, which led to 11 points for Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Waldorf hosts three MCAC contests next week, starting off against Bellevue University (22-3, 8-1) on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Bruins are ranked No. 4 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll.
The Warriors take on Central Baptist College (10-12, 4-5) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and face No. 15 College of the Ozarks (18-5, 7-2) in Saturday's 5 p.m. tip-off.
"It's definitely a big week," Jenkins said. "You can't look past Central Baptist because they're a very good ball club as well."
The Warriors are keeping the same approach, focusing on one game at a time.
Waldorf handed Bellevue its only conference loss of the season, scoring a 76-74 win on Jan. 10 at Bellevue, Neb. One game separates the two teams in the conference standings.
"Bellevue is definitely going to be a battle," Jenkins said. "We're looking forward to it."