The Dominican University Stars trailed the Concordia University Cougars for just a total of one minute and nine seconds as Dominican cruised to a 63-55 win in the Stars' Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference (NIIC) season opener at Concordia Jan. 5.
The Stars pulled out to an 18-10 lead in the game's first nine minutes before a scoreboard malfunction brought the Stars' run to a screeching halt as the game was delayed for the next five minutes. The Cougars regrouped and went on an 11-2 run to take a 21-20 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first half. The Stars responded with a 15-1 run of their own to close out the first half and reclaimed the lead 35-22.
Senior Ocie Peet led all scorers with 18 points for the Stars, going 9 for 17 from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds in the process. Sophomores Derek Pedersen and Binyamin Jones also scored in double-figures for the Stars with 13 and 12 points respectively.
The Stars then battled the Benedictine University Eagles, picked by the NIIC coaches to win the conference championship in a preseason poll. Trailing the Eagles by four at halftime, 30-26, the Stars knotted the score at 32-32 before taking a one-point lead on a 3-pointer by Ivano Clay.
The Stars maintained the lead until the 13-minute mark when the Eagles tied the score at 40-40 and then took the lead for good on their ensuing possession, holding on for a 64-57 win.
Cougars down Stars
Concordia University's women's basketball team got the new year off to a rousing start by winning their first two games in NIIC play last week.
Concordia hosted local rival Dominican on Jan. 4 in both teams' NIIC opener. The Cougars jumped out to a 45-29 lead after 20 minutes of play, but the Stars recovered to charge back and take a 58-56 lead with 9:20 remaining. Undaunted, the Cougars reclaimed the lead as Atoi Sinclair scored the next six points, and Concordia would go on to an 87-72 win. Sinclair was one of two Cougars to post a double-double as she finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.