Sioux City, NE – The Hasting College men’s basketball team pulled off one of the most historic upsets as they defeated No. 2 Morningside College 84-80 in the first round of the GPAC Conference tournament Saturday night.
The Broncos knew they were going to have to battle with the second ranked team in the nation and that’s exactly what happened. Zach Kitten (SR/Hastings, NE) would give his team the 7-6 lead with his basket early in the first half. After being tied 8-8, the Mustangs would go on a 7-0 run to take a 15-8 lead with 13:39 left in half. Hastings would respond with back-to-back three-pointers by Karson Gansebom (FR/Bennington, NE) and Ryan Ierna (SR/Clearwater, FL) to make a 15-14 game. Again, both teams would find themselves tied at the halfway mark of the half after Ierna drained another three-pointer to tie it 22-22.
Logan Cale (SR/Lincoln, NE) would finally give the Broncos back the lead with his three-pointer with 6:11 to go in the first half. Hastings would go on to build their lead to as much as seven after a three-pointer from Bart Hiscock (SR/Bennington, NE). The Mustangs would make the final basket of the half as the Broncos lead 47-42.
Mason Hiemstra (FR/Alliance , NE) would open up the second half with a three-pointer to extend the lead to 50-42. Morningside would manage to put together an 11-0 run to regain the lead 53-52 with 15:21 left on the clock. Cale would come up big again with another three-pointer to give Hastings back the 63-61 lead. The Mustangs would tie the game for the fifth and final time of the game at 65-65 with just a little over 10 minutes left to play.
Hiemstra would extend the Broncos lead to seven after he drained a three-pointer, as Hastings now led 74-67. As the clock started winding down, the Mustangs were able to make it a one point game after a basket in the paint and the and-one by Tyler Borcher, as Morningside still trailed 78-77 with 4:22 left. A Hiemstra basket would push the lead back to three, but a pair of free throws by the Mustangs made it again a one-point game. Morningside would have another opportunity to make a one-point game with 1:27 but would go 1-for-2 at the free throw line. After a Mustang turnover, leading only by two, Ierna may have had the most important rebound of the game as he was able to get the offensive board after a missed shot from Cale with just :13 seconds left on the clock. A pair of free-throws by Cale would seal the deal for the upset as the Broncos would hang on to an 84-80 victory over the #2 Mustangs.
Last time a No. 1 seed lost in the Quarterfinal round of the GPAC Tournament was back in 08-09 season when the 9 seed Sioux Falls defeated the 1 seed Morningside 63-61. That was back when 12 teams qualified for the tournament. Tonight’s upset win for the Broncos is the first time the No. 1 seed has lost in the first round of GPAC play since moving to eight team bracket.
Hiemstra led the way on the score sheet with 24 points shooting 10-for-18 from the field and 4-for-8 from behind the arc. Ierna finished his big game with 17 points off of 7-for-11 shooting while also picking up his first double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. Cale would finish with 11 points and four assists. Lipovsky added 10 points of his own. Kitten and Hiscock finished with eight points, as Kitten also grabbed eight rebounds on the night.
The Broncos will be back in action Saturday Feb. 29th as they go on the road to take on Concordia University with a tip-off set for 4:00 pm CT.