After a high-scoring win Jan. 25 against Sioux County rival Dordt College, Raider men looked to keep the momentum when they took on the Morningside Mustangs this past Wednesday. Despite a solid first half, the Red Raiders fell to Morningside 82-59.
The first half was fairly even with both teams going into the second half at 33 apiece. Morningside held the advantage from beyond the arc going three for nine for an overall 33.3 percent, yet NW was able to shoot 100 percent from the free throw line and 44.8 percent from field goal range.
With the score tied and the teams fairly evenly matched from all sides of the court, the second half looked to be as competitive as the first. However, the tides turned, and fast.
After exchanging a few baskets to start the second half, Morningside went on a 13-0 run, shooting out to a 52-39 lead. In an effort to try and close the lead, the Raiders began to shoot more from the three-point line, resulting in little success, and Morningside jumping out to an even bigger lead.
The Mustangs held a 20-point lead through the first 11 minutes of the second half, and while the Raiders were able to cut the Morningside lead to 15 points with less than three minutes left in the game, it was too late.
While missed shots were a problem, an even bigger one was the 19 turnovers the Raiders gave up.
Junior Colton Kooima was able to score 20 points with two assists and three rebounds. Fellow junior Nathan Wedel and senior Jordan Baker each had 10 points and combined for 11 rebounds.
With the loss at home, the Raiders fall to 20-5 on the season, and 10-4 in the GPAC, placing them in a three-way tie for second place. Four games remain in the regular season, with the conference tournament less than three weeks away.
Despite the rough patch, the Red Raiders remain one of the best teams in the nation and are still looking for a chance to qualify for the national tournament in March.
Their next game is Saturday, Feb. 4, as they travel to Crete, Neb. to take on the Doane Tigers.