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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.
Nationally-ranked Des Moines Area jumped out to a 17-0 start against Southwestern Wednesday and then held the line on the way to a 70-54 win in Boone. After the nightmare beginning, the Spartans made an 18-10 run to get within 9 by halftime on plays by Elliott Hamdeed and Tanner Kellogg. Another slow beginning to a half in the second frame put Southwestern down 13 early on. The Spartans began to connect offensively, but post play by the Bears was too much for Southwestern’s size inside. DMACC pounded the glass for 13 offensive rebounds, and the Spartans were uncharacteristically shaky with the ball, turning it over 24 times.
The Spartans will play again Saturday at home against Ellsworth. Tip will follow the women’s game at approximately 3 p.m.
It was a tall order for Southwestern, facing #6 Division I Iowa Western on the road. The task proved too great as the Spartans were overwhelmed, 93-49. Cold shooting out of the gate and offensive rebound chances for Iowa Western put the Spartans in an early hole. Mataika Koyamainavure connected on several field goals to give Southwestern some offensive output, but the young Spartans could never get things going in the first half.
The second frame was much better for Southwestern, as they received a spark on both ends of the floor from Nick Lenhard (pictured). The Spartans also were more aggressive on their finishes at the basket, playing much more competitively after half.
Southwestern was able to get off on the right foot in conference play with a 56-40 victory over visiting Clinton Saturday, December 14. The Spartans grabbed an early advantage on several slick assists from Larry Mason, and were able to control the defensive end of the floor, forcing the Cougars into difficult shots. Key baskets from Elliott Hamdeed took the Spartans to half leading 26-16.
Clinton proved game in the second half, once cutting the Spartan lead to 7, but bench play proved the difference. Tanner Kellogg led Southwestern rebounders with six, and Dylan Tucker chipped in a perfect four-for-four from the floor to keep the margin comfortable.