Wayne State made 14-of-16 free throws in the second half while sophomore Kendall Jacks poured in a team-high 20 points as the Wildcats held off a second-half rally to defeat Midland University 70-66 in a men’s college basketball exhibition game played Tuesday at Rice Auditorium.
Midland scored the opening four points of the game, but Wayne State held the lead for the remainder of the first half while building a 35-26 halftime advantage.
A pair of Jacks free throws at the 7:55 mark of the first half gave the Wildcats their first double digit lead of the night at 24-14. Wayne State led by as many as 13 in the first half at 29-16 following a Ben Hoskins 3-pointer. After Midland cut the lead to seven at 33-26 the Wildcats used a Matt Thomas layup on the final play of the first half for a 35-26 lead at intermission.
Wayne State pushed the lead to 11 a couple of times early in the second half until Midland made a run and took the lead from the Wildcats.
An Austin Esters layup gave Wayne State a 44-33 lead with 12:28 to play. Midland then went on a 14-2 run over the next 3:16 and took a 47-46 lead on a Diamontae McKinley layup with 9:12 remaining.
The Warriors pushed the led to five at 57-52 on an Alex Starkel layup at the 5:11 mark when Wayne State scored the following eight points to regain the lead for good.
A three point play by Vance Janssen put the Wildcats in front 60-57 with 2:01 to play. Midland got as close as one at 60-59, but Wayne State sank 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch and got a key layup from Thomas with 38 seconds remaining to hang on for the 70-66 win.
Wayne State ended the game making 21 of 49 shots for 42.9 percent including 6 of 17 behind the arc. The Wildcats were 22 of 29 at the free throw line including 14 of 16 in the second half.
Jacks led Wayne State in scoring with 20 points followed by Janssen and Jordan Cornelius with 10 apiece.
Wayne State travels to Omaha Friday evening for a 7 p.m. exhibition game at Creighton University.