The Dawson Buccaneers won their third game in a row on Monday night, beating the Bismarck State College Mystics on the road 99-94. It was a close contest all night that featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes. The Mystics got up early 10-5 before Dawson went on a 15-2 run. The Bucs maintained a lead for most of the first half behind the scoring of Kayden Hitt who came off the bench to connect on all four of his field goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, scoring 12 points. Devin Collins snagged 10 rebounds in the opening half. The Mystics were led by KyJuan Johnson's 16 points and Austin Slaughter's 10 points. Marcus Stephens connected on a pull-up jumper in the closing seconds of the half to give Dawson a 46-42 lead going into the break.
In the second half, Dawson was able to slow down Johnson who only scored one point after intermission, but guard Grant Kohlus caught fire and scored 18 points in the final twenty minutes. Slaughter also kept going strong and helped Bismarck to pull ahead multiple times. Kayden Hitt's hot shooting continued in the second half for Dawson as he hit 4 more shots, including three more from 3-point range. He finished a perfect 8-8 from the field to score 23 points in 17 minutes of action. Down by four with five minutes remaining, Dawson turned up the pressure defensively and forced turnovers on three straight possessions. Stephens capitalized on the other end by scoring on a drive, Jaron Masis followed it up with a rebound and putback and then Kolten Hitt made a strong drive to the basket and finished. Bismarck went to the free throw line 31 times on the night, but only made 55% from the charity stripe. With a lead in hand in the final minute, CJ Nelson made three free throws down the stretch to help secure the win for the visitors.
Dawson's bench outscored Bismarck 51-13 and the Bucs shot an efficient 11-22 from long range. Kayden Hitt paced four Buccaneers in double figures with his 23 points. Stephens finished with 16, Camron Dunfee had 13 and Masis had 10 points. Devin Collins had a game high 15 rebounds in 19 minutes and Reece Green had 13 rebounds in 20 minutes, including 7 on the offensive end. For Bismarck, Kohlus netted 25 points, Slaughter scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Johnson finished with 17 points
DCC Head Coach Joe Peterson shared his thoughts, "I'm glad we made the plays down the stretch that we needed to. It was a weird day with our bus problems and frustrations with officials, but we kept battling to pull it out. It seems like a different guy steps up for us each game and tonight Kayden gave us a big lift. It's not easy to win on the road, but we have now picked up three conference road wins."
The win puts Dawson at 6-2 in conference which is good enough for a three way tie for second place with NDSCS and Lake Region. The Bucs will travel to Wahpeton to play NDSCS on Thursday before returning home on Sunday for a match-up with Lake Region.