With many fresh faces, Southwestern faced Graceland on the road in its season opener, dropping the contest 68-63. The Spartans controlled the first half, using inside play from Mataika Koyamainavure and early outside connections from Jared Theis to build a 36-27 halftime lead. An early three-point goal from Matt Orchard got the Spartans to a double-digit lead, but the Yellow Jackets kept jabbing away at the lead, and Southwestern showed inexperience with some key turnovers, failed block-outs, and defensive lapses.
Sophomore Larry Mason tried to keep the Spartans in front with some key hustle plays and defensive boards, but with three minutes to play Graceland took the lead. A turnover on the next possession for Southwestern led to a transition basket for the Yellow Jackets and put Southwestern into hurry mode. The Spartans could not dig into the late advantage and had to settle for the disappointing defeat.
Southwestern next plays on the road Saturday at North Central Missouri. The tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.