ST. PAUL, Minn. — The William Penn men’s cagers had a strong second half in defeating Dakota State (S.D.) in the consolation game of the Bethel Tournament Saturday, 93-78.

The Statesmen (5-2), blew open a three-point halftime lead by shooting 65.4 percent from the field (finished at 50 percent overall). Penn, who had lost to Wisconsin-River Falls Friday, took home the tournament bronze with a 1-1 record.

Penn came out of the gate quick, pulling ahead by nine points at 15-6 just 3:34 into the contest. The Trojans rebounded big by scoring 17 unanswered points to take their largest lead of the game of eight points at 23-15 with 11:22 remaining until halftime.

The Statesmen continued to trail until the final two minutes of the first stanza, when they went ahead for good at 38-37 on a jumper by Kris Miller with 1:38 left.

Penn, who led 40-37 at the break, established its first double-digit lead at 53-43 with 15:33 left, but Dakota State answered with seven of the game’s next eight points. The Statesmen weathered that storm and then scored seven points in a row and cruised from there, eventually going up by as much as 19 points twice.

Jacob Spielbauer paced Penn with 24 points, including four 3-pointers and a 6-for-6 showing at the free throw line.

Ryan Norman was right on Spielbauer’s heels with 22 points, making five charity shots of his own. Miller and Luke Letzring had 12 points each, while Joseph Powell also reached double figures with 11 points (8-of-9 from the free throw line).

Miller and Letzring tallied a team-high six rebounds each as well, while Miller also topped all players with eight assists and Letzring had a game-high three blocks.

Adam Weig was also solid off the bench, hitting all three of his shots for six points.

Penn travels to Illinois to play in the Pizza Hut Classic during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, first facing Knox in Galesburg, Ill., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Statesmen then meet up with Monmouth in Monmouth, Ill., Sunday at 3 p.m.

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