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Southwestern, a team that attempts to control the tempo, went into ultra tempo control Tuesday night at Iowa Lakes, attempting to knock off the 17th-ranked team in the nation on their home floor. The execution gave Southwestern their chance, but the Lakers were able to make plays in the second half to extend their two-point halftime lead en route to a 52-36 win. For Southwestern, Jared Theis (pictured), Elliott Hamdeed, and Dustin Lyden all played their final games as Spartans. Coach Mike Holmes said, “Our sophomores exhibited a good deal of resiliency this year. We were young to begin with and then our rotation whittled way down, making our circumstances very challenging. Those guys stayed the course and gave very good mental and physical effort throughout the season.”
Southwestern will attempt to pull off the same magic act it performed two years ago by upsetting a number-two seed in regional play. Tuesday, March 4, Southwestern will travel to Iowa Lakes for the first round of the tournament. The Spartans dropped a contest Saturday in the same locale, 64-41. Coach Mike Holmes is hoping history does some repeating. “Two years ago,” Holmes said, “we had a similar circumstance to this year’s group. We were young, we were slowly getting better, and we had to play the two seed on their home floor. We walked away with a huge win and some great confidence. I would love to see these guys achieve the same thing.”
Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be webcast at the Iowa Lakes Community College Web site.
In Mason City Saturday, February 22, Southwestern battled into halftime trailing 31-27, but could not maintain its defensive energy in the second half, succumbing to North Iowa Area, 78-59. Foul differential plagued the Spartans in both halves, as the Trojans attempted 29 free throws to eight by Southwestern. Consistent pressure forced turnovers from an otherwise efficient offense for the Spartans; however, defensive rebounding was eventually exploited. Where the Spartans allowed only three offensive rebounds in the first half, North Iowa Area grabbed 16 second chances in the second frame.
Tanner Kellogg grabbed 10 total rebounds on the evening for Southwestern. Nick Lenhard handed out seven assists. Elliott Hamdeed was an efficient 7-11 from the floor and 5-7 from the line. Southwestern next plays a makeup game with Clinton Tuesday. The game is in Clinton and tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Due to Clinton High School being closed today and board policy prohibiting evening events after closure, the men’s basketball game scheduled for tonight at Clinton will be moved to Thursday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m.