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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.
Southwestern played its game throughout a holiday weekend contest, giving itself a chance to win, but fell to 12-1 Southeast Nebraska, 65-60. Southwestern took a 34-27 advantage to half behind a torrid offensive performance from Mataika Koyamainavure and big defensive rebounds from Larry Mason (pictured) and Jared Theis.
The biggest difference for the Spartans in the second half was their possession of the ball. The Spartans ballooned from three turnovers in the first half to nine in the second half, and they proved costly as Southeast benefitted with two run-outs off the miscues to get them back into the game and eventually the lead. The Spartans also missed three key free throws down the stretch.
Trailing by three with 45 seconds, the Spartans elected to guard rather than foul due to the strong free-throw percentages for the Storm on the floor. The Spartans knocked the ball out of bounds with one second on the shot clock and ten on the game clock. Southwestern then failed to communicate a hand-off and Southeast was able to knock in a mid-range jumper to put the game out of reach.
Southwestern next plays Wednesday, December 4, in Des Moines against Grand View. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Facing a team that had knocked off three Division I teams in the early going of the season, Southwestern could not conjure enough offense to stay with Central Nebraska on the road Tuesday night, dropping the contest 81-55. A cold start from the floor overshadowed a nice defensive effort early on for Southwestern. The Raiders were primarily scoring on transition off turnovers or offensive putbacks on rebounds. The Spartans made an uncharacteristic 11 turnovers in the half, which is around their game average.
In the second half, Southwestern controlled defensive rebounds better and took care of the ball, and looked much more efficient in their offensive attacks. The damage had been done, however, and the lead was too great to overcome at that stage. Southwestern got a nice game from Larry Mason, who made some strong basket attacks and was turnover free for the game. Matt Orchard, moving well without the ball, benefitted from several good cuts and finishes to the basket as well. Nikola Drobnjak had his best minutes of the year for the Spartans off the bench.
Southwestern will next host Southeast Nebraska at home Saturday, November 30. Tip is scheduled for 3 p.m.