The Spartans faced Iowa Lakes for the second time in conference play on Saturday, February 1, and it was a much different game then the first meeting losing to the Lakers by 17 points. A slow start offensively and poor rebounding by the Spartans led to too many second chance point opportunities for the Lakers which allowed them to be in control for the majority of the first half but only led by four 26-22.
Head Coach Addae Houston said, "We have struggled all year with rebounding, but I will never make the excuse that we are too small. We just have to be better at holding off bigger players and give effort."
The second half was closely played and saw multiple ties and lead changes right up the very end. Morgan Knorr who lead all scorers with 17 points was able to sink one of two free-throws after being fouled with under ten seconds remaining and put the Spartans ahead 52-51. In the Lakers final possession the Spartans deflected a pass out of bounds with less than two seconds left in the game. A second attempt on the inbounds play by the Lakers saw their pass deflected out of bounds by Darian Polson near the basket, leaving less than a second on the clock. The Lakers inbounded the ball well beyond the arc for a final shot that fell short and the Spartans held on for the victory, 52-51.
“I was very pleased with our execution and effort in the second half,” Houston commented. “We never gave up despite some foul trouble and poor rebounding throughout the game. We were able to get key defensive stops at the right moments and I think that was the difference towards the end.