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Southwestern got a win they needed in a 65-56 victory over Grand View Friday night, January 24, in Creston. The first half was a back and forth battle, with the Vikings jumping out to an 8-2 advantage, but then the steady attack led by Elliott Hamdeed and Tanner Kellogg began to bring the Spartans closer. With some foul problems for Mataika Koyamainavure and Larry Mason, however, Grand View led at the half, 28-27.
Composure against the press of North Iowa Area was absent at the beginning of a conference game Saturday for the Spartans, and created a deficit impossible to overcome in a 90-55 loss. Southwestern, averaging 12 turnovers a game this season, made 15 miscues in the first half alone in digging itself an insurmountable hole. North Iowa Area continued to use frequent substitutions, pressure defense, and accurate three-point shooting to answer any runs the Spartans could muster.
Head Coach Mike Holmes was pleased with offensive adjustments and ball possession in the second half, but continues to highlight the theme of consistency. “We are a very competitive team when we value the ball and compete defensively, but need to continue to put those possessions together for games rather than halves.”
Southwestern travels to Kirkwood Wednesday for a double header with the women’s team. Tip for the men’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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.