The Wildcats opened up a strong game against Association of Independent Instutitions (A.I.I.) opponent Valley City State University on Saturday afternoon, but the Vikings showed a wide array of shooters throughout the contest. Johnson & Wales hosted the first meeting of the two sides in the Wildcat Center in the 'Cats last game before the holiday break.
Valley City showed their cards early going up 19-7 in the first five minutes of the game while JWU struggled to find their shot. The Vikings continued their run, extending the contest to a 39-21 advantage and holding the 'Cats to 11-25 shooting from the floor. Again the Wildcats had a hard time on the free throw line converting just 12-18 in the half. JWU started to build some momentum as the clock ticked away and brought the game to 46-35 in favor of VCSU at the break.
The second half had JWU maintaining their mojo in the first few minutes cutting the lead even further to just five forcing Valley City to call a timeout and regroup. Whatever was said in the huddle seemed to do the trick as the Vikings again took control of the game and 12-5 run to pull away from JWU. Both teams struggled with fouls with the VCSU finding two players in foul trouble late in the half and Jake Campbell exiting early for accumulation. By the end of the game, the full bench on both sides of the court had made an appearance with Valley City taking the 72-58 conference win over Johnson & Wales.
Campbell led the Wildcats with 17 points and Cody Derner added another 12. Campbell also matched a game high six rebounds and Chris O'Neal had three assists. Sekani Milligen led the Vikings with 27 points and Sylvester Walker had six boards.
The two teams will meet up again on January 14 at Valley City State. Johnson & Wales will host a slate of games over the holiday break beginning with Madonna University on December 29 at 7pm in the Wildcat Center.