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Southwestern showed effects of a long trip to Clinton Sunday, trailing at half by 9 before coming from behind to capture a 69-64 conference win. The Spartans led for most of the first half, and were on top 28-24 when things went downhill. Behind 9 first half offensive rebounds, Clinton went on a 17-2 before half to lead 39-30 at intermission. The Spartans began to methodically claw back into the game, and consecutive three-point goals from Austin Emerson and Luke Sealer gave Southwestern the lead for good at the 3-minute mark of the contest. Collin Artinger connected on another three to up the advantage to four. After a Clinton basket and free throw, Southwestern stopped the Cougars with under a minute to play, and Sammy Duggins made two free throws for a 65-62 lead with 17 seconds to play. Clinton tried a 3 on the next series, but Duggins again grabbed the miss and sealed the game with two more free throws. Southwestern next plays at Division I Indian Hills Tuesday at 7 p.m.
After a first-half battle that was playing out just how the Spartans had planned, a quick spurt at the beginning of the second half propelled Des Moines Area to a 61-44 win over Southwestern. The Spartans used long possessions and multiple screens to trail 24-23 at half; however, E.J. Hicks got loose for DMACC in the first possession of the second half and knocked in a three-point goal, which was followed by a Southwestern turnover and layup for the Bears. In a flash, the one-point deficit became six. Though field goals were close, DMACC was able to take advantage of 20 more free throw attempts (25 to 5) to distance themselves by the end of the contest. Southwestern moves to 13-11 on the season and plays conference foe Clinton Sunday in Clinton at 1 p.m.
In need of a conference win, Southwestern hosted Ellsworth Saturday hoping history would repeat. The Spartans were able to beat Ellsworth on the road earlier this season, but the Panthers proved too tough as they came away with a 76-65 win over Southwestern. Ellsworth grabbed an early 10-2 lead, but Southwestern stayed within striking distance, trailing 37-32 at half. Though the Panthers jumped out to an 11-point lead early in the second half, the Spartans were able to cut it to 3 on two different occasions before the clock began to be an enemy of Southwestern. The Spartans fall to 13-10 on the season, lose ground in the conference seeding, and now must play talented Des Moines Area Wednesday on the road.
In a game which had momentum swinging back and forth like a pendulum, Iowa Central was able to hold off Southwestern in a key Iowa Community College Athletic Conference matchup Thursday in Fort Dodge, 67-62. The game was played after being postponed from the previous night. Southwestern set the early tone with connections from behind the arc from Luke Sealer, Austin Emerson, and Collin Artinger to take a 15-4 lead. Iowa Central chipped back with big offensive rebounds and some big 3s of their own to knot the score at 32-32 by intermission. It was the Tritons who got early control in the second half, connecting on their first five shots of the frame. Southwestern did not vanish, getting key rebounds and transition baskets from Dominique Outley. Down six with 1:10 to play, Southwestern got a stop and Tyler Smith hit a runner in the lane to cut the lead to four. After fouling, Iowa Central hit one free throw and the Spartans ran a set to try to get a 3. Smith misfired, and Emerson had another look off an inbound, but the Spartans could not get key bucket. The loss moves the Spartans to 13-9. They have yet another important conference battle at home Saturday against Ellsworth.