With two players in the starting lineup for the first time and a seven-man rotation, Southwestern battled to the end with high-powered Ellsworth Saturday, dropping the contest 76-68. The Spartans clawed for a first-half deficit of one, 36-35, behind the leadership of Elliott Hamdeed and Jared Theis. Southwestern limited second-chance points from the Panthers and were able to find seams in the Ellsworth zone to stay tight in the contest. In the second half, Ellsworth used the three-point line to increase their lead to double digits, but inside play from Mataika Koyamainavure and Tanner Kellogg brought the Spartans to within striking distance, 70-66, with two minutes to play. Ellsworth made free throws down the stretch to secure the win, but the young Spartans took valuable experience away from the contest and hope to build upon it for upcoming conference games.
They next play on the road at Iowa Central Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.