Riding a three-game win streak, the Waldorf men’s basketball team took a break from the heat of the conference race for a taste of the big-time.
Playing at NCAA Division II Winona State in an exhibition battle between two Warrior schools, Waldorf fell behind early but tried hung tough, only to fall 88-60 to their NCAA hosts on Tuesday night.
“No matter who we play and what level they are at, we should always be able to compete,” Waldorf head coach Nigel Jenkins said.
“Regardless of the result, I felt we didn’t compete in the first half,” Waldorf’s coach added. “Second half was better, but not our normal way.”
The hosts got off to a hot start, going up 25-8 in the opening 10 minutes against a road-weary Waldorf crew coming off a North Star Athletic Association sweep in North Dakota on Friday and Saturday.
The NSAA-leading Warriors (6-7 overall, 3-0 NSAA) started chipping away with an Osahen Iduwe dunk and a Kaden Verdin 3-pointer, but Winona State (6-4) kept the pressure on and went to the break on top 45-22.
From there the game evened out over the final 20 minutes, but the NAIA Warriors couldn’t mount a comeback, dropping the exhibition road contest, which is game three in a very busy week and a half for Waldorf.
The Warriors return to the court playing a non-conference contest at Luther on Friday, then host Viterbo and Bellevue in NSAA play on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at the Hanson Fieldhouse.
Waldorf wraps up a 7-game in 12-day run playing another exhibition against another NCAA D-II foe next Tuesday at Minnesota State-Mankato.
Verdin led the way for the third straight game for the Warriors with team-highs of`19 points and five rebounds on Tuesday night, while Brian Smith added 11 points for Waldorf.