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Southwestern had to extend their defense farther than normal to defeat Northwestern Saturday afternoon in Creston, 79-64. The Red Raiders set the tone early, making 7 of their first 9 shots to grab an early 11-6 advantage. Going out of character, the Spartans put pressure on ball handlers and began forcing passing mistakes. In all, Northwestern committed 30 turnovers. Some of the turnovers led to transition baskets for Southwestern and gave the Spartans a 44-35 halftime advantage. In the second half, Northwestern cut the lead to 6, but could not get closer as the Spartans continued to run their spread and cut game. Balanced scoring was the key for Southwestern, who put four players in double figures (Alec Hall, Jordan Hopkins, Luke Sealer, and Tyler Smith). Sealer (photo at right) also chipped in 5 assists in the game. Southwestern also survived a scare when starting center Collin Artinger left the game with a shoulder injury. Artinger will be assessed Monday to determine his status for a Tuesday home game against Quakerdale Academy.
Southwestern used a methodical zone attack to fight off a scrappy William Penn squad Tuesday night, 73-55. The Statesmen, who switched up zones to attempt to keep the Spartans off balance, hit key free throws in the first half to stay within striking distance, 42-31. In the second half, more aggressive middle attack of the zone got Jordan Hopkins and Collin Artinger key looks to extend the Southwestern lead to 60-40 with eight minutes to play. From there, the Spartans got some key bench minutes from Dominique Outley and Keenan Joiner to keep their margin. The win moves Southwestern to 3-0. They next play Northwestern Saturday at 4 p.m. in Creston.
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Southwestern knew it was in for a challenge on the road against Division I Iowa Western Tuesday, and they ran against a brick wall in a 70-50 loss. It was the first loss for Southwestern on the year, and Head Coach Mike Holmes attributes a large share to his team’s reaction to the athleticism and environment. “We looked a little wide-eyed,” Holmes said. “When you are up against that type of athleticism, you need to be more crisp and urgent than you typically are, or the defense is going to get on their toes and start to smell blood. We were just too passive.” Iowa Western forced 19 turnovers from the Spartans, well above their season average. Southwestern also was out-rebounded on the evening, 37-21. The loss moves the Spartans to 9-1. They next play Grand View at home Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Southwestern extended their record to 2-0 on the young season with a tough win at North Central Missouri Saturday. The Spartans came firing out of the gates, jumping to a 19-6 lead, but then foul trouble put North Central Missouri at the line 17 times in the first half compared to 6 for the Spartans. By half, the Pirates had cut into the lead and trailed 39-33 at half. The beginning of the second half was see-saw at first, and North Central tied the contest at 45-45 with 14 minutes to play. From there, the Spartans took command with several back-door cuts and solid defense on the basket attack efforts by the Pirates. Southwestern came away with a 71-57 win. “To beat a quality team on the road,” said Head Coach Mike Holmes, “is a huge step for our program in the early going.” Though the Spartans put four players in double figures (Alec Hall, Tyler Smith, Jordan Hopkins, and Keenan Joiner), Holmes was most pleased with the execution details with the ball. Southwestern made only 9 ball mistakes despite heavy pressure from North Central, and Hall had 7 assists in an offense in which precision timing is paramount. Southwestern opens at home Tuesday against William Penn.