The Blue Hawks return home after an extended hiatus as they take on Black Hills State and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The results from the two contests could have a profound effect on the remainder of the season for both the men and the women. Competing within the realm of Independent Institutions this year makes it necessary for DSU to qualify for postseason competition. To do so the Hawks must win games in the final stretch run.
The Blue Hawk men defeated Black Hills State in their first meeting on Dec. 2, by a score of 71-66.The Jackets are 4-7 on the year but have some nice wins on their resume, most notably a three game stretch where they defeated Rocky Mountain College, Carroll College and Great Falls. Rob Johnson leads BH in scoring at 15.5 points per game. The Jackets are allowing 71.3 points per contest and are scoring an average on 66.4 points per.
South Dakota School of Mines travels to Dickinson State on Saturday after a bout with Minot State on Friday night. Currently they own a 7-7 record and are fresh off a win over Mayville State. The Hardrockers are led by Kyle Doerr's 12.6 points per game but also boast two other players above ten points per game.
For the first time all season the Blue Hawks come into the weekend with their entire lineup intact. Pierce Brooks, who has played in only two games this season, will see action for the third time this year. Brooks has given the Hawks a huge spark already. The versatile swingman is averaging 13 points per game, highlighted by a 20 point performance at Rocky Mountain College over the Holiday. Matt Lee returns tonight for the Hawks as well. Lee's presence, along Casper Hesseldal and the continual growth of Jarek Hansen as a scorer, make the Hawks a threatening bunch.
The Blue Hawk women gained two huge wins at the Rocky Mountain College Holiday Classic. The first against the host team Battlin' Bears (ranked No. 24 in the nation) and the second over Mount Royal of Canada. The two wins took DSU to 7-12 on the season. The Blue Hawk women are healthier than they have been early in a long time. Mandy Mullock returned over winter break from a finger injury and Dawne Degel is close to returning from a stress fracture in her foot.
Jessica Nieves has been spectacular as of late. The senior guard averaged 13.3 points per game in the month of December. Her ability to get to the paint along with Mandy Mullock and Kylee Bittner's scoring ability, have the Hawks within striking distance in the Independent rankings.
The women of Black Hills State come into the evening at 3-8 overall with their last win coming over Dickinson State, 72-56 in Spearfish. Kristi Ryan Leads the charge for the Jackets in scoring (11.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.7).
South Dakota School of Mines brings another challenge on Saturday when the 7-6 Hardrockers come to Scott Gym. Tech defeated DSU at home on Dec. 3. The Lady Hardrockers are led by Hillary Hawkins' 14 points per game.