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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.
In a rare back-to-back challenge, the Southwestern men’s basketball team was equal to the task with weekend wins, 74-66 over William Penn, and 68-62 over Wartburg in Oskaloosa and Waverly respectively.
The Spartans began the weekend right by taking a halftime lead of 44-28 to the locker room against William Penn thanks to defensive energy and timely scoring from Elliott Hamdeed (pictured). In the second half, the Statesmen tried to make a late run, but big free throws from Nick Lenhard and defensive rebounds from Jared Theis helped to seal away the win.
Things seemed to be well in hand for Southwestern on the road Wednesday before a 17-0 run doomed the Spartans, who saw a shot at the buzzer go in for a 62-59 win for host Grand View. The Spartans worked for a five-point halftime advantage behind timely basket attacks from Larry Mason and key shots from Jared Theis. Things continued to go well for the visitors as they moved their lead to double digits with nine minutes to go, 53-40.
Then the proverbial wheels came off as the Spartans allowed some easy penetration baskets as well as three point goals and trailed 57-53 before an Elliott Hamdeed score finally stopped the run. Southwestern managed to tie the game at 59-59 with 18 seconds on a basket by Mataika Koyamainavure; however, the Spartans were not up to the task of defending the final Viking possession, which proved to be the game winner.
Southwestern next plays back to back on the weekend, traveling to William Penn Saturday and Wartburg Sunday. Tips are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.