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In a final non-conference contest before break, Southwestern was not efficient enough with the ball to grind out a win against Southeast Nebraska, dropping a 62-58 contest. Southwestern led most of the first half behind solid play in the middle of the press by Patrick Wright, but turnovers hurt the Spartans throughout the contest, leading to run-outs by the Storm, who trailed 31-29 at the half.
The second half went back and forth, with Southwestern getting key contributions from Wright and Devin Kastrup. Trailing 60-58 with under a minute, the Spartans tried a special against the Southeast zone, but a challenged lay-up did not fall, and Southwestern was forced to foul. Southeast made both free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Spartans return to action January 5 at Graceland. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.
Southwestern will only play one conference game prior to the winter break—they are off to a good start, capturing an opening-round win against talented Iowa Lakes, 51-43. Southwestern attempted to control the tempo in the game, slowing down Iowa Lakes' transition attack. Key plays from Marquealis Edwards gave the Spartans a 23-16 half-time lead. The lead would deviate from as many as 13 down to two at one stage late in the second half, with Devin Kastrup hitting a big three-point shot midway through the second frame, and Marcus Littleton connecting on a crucial field goal with just under two minutes to play to give the Spartans a seven-point cushion. Down the stretch, free throws from Edwards, Patrick Wright, and Delby Halcomb sealed it for the Spartans.
Southwestern next plays Saturday at home against Southeast Nebraska. Tip-off is 3 p.m.
At half, it looked as if it might be a Cinderella story for Southwestern against DI Iowa Western, the ninth ranked team in the nation, but the Spartans could not make the big shots or get the key rebounds in the second half to pull off the stunner. In the end, it was Iowa Western coming away with a 51-41 win. Southwestern executed its game-plan efficiently in the first half, grinding the shot clock and making the Reivers shoot it over the top of the Spartan defense, taking a 21-13 advantage to the locker room at halftime. Iowa Western chipped away at the lead when point-guard Devin Brooks began heating up from the arc. Some inside scores from Southwestern’s Devin Kastrup gave the Spartans hope of keeping the advantage, but key turnovers by Southwestern led to run-out scores for the Reivers, who eventually took the lead off such mistakes. Attempting to pull off the upset still, Southwestern attempted to set itself up for some three-point opportunities, but could not connect on any good looks. The Spartans were a dismal 0-18 on the night from the three-point line.
Southwestern opens conference play Tuesday night, December 11, at home against Iowa Lakes. Tip-off follows the women’s game at approximately 7:30 p.m.
With an accomplishment Head Coach Mike Holmes believes is as jaw-dropping as scoring 100+ points individually in a college basketball game, Southwestern played 40 minutes against Buena Vista Wednesday night and turned the ball over only twice. The result was 74 shots for the Spartans, leading to an 83-60 win.
Holmes said, “You can manipulate scoring to a degree. Give a guy 100 shots and he should score 100 points. You can’t manipulate turnovers. You will have the possessions in a game, and you will either be technically sound with the ball or you won’t.” The multitude of shots on goal led to four Spartans in double figures for the night—Marquealis Edwards, Jack Harrison, Patrick Wright, and Marcus Littleton. Edwards also led the Spartans in assists and rebounds for the evening.
Southwestern will want to carry their ball value over to Saturday night, when they go on the road to face the high pressure defense of Iowa Western, who is ranked in the top ten nationally for Division I teams currently. Tip-off is 7 p.m