In a game that was fast-paced and physical, Northwestern’s men’s basketball opened up conference play with a 99-84 win over Mount Marty University. The Red Raiders and Lancers both have had strong starts to begin the season, as each team entered the game on Tuesday, Nov. 12, with only one loss each. However, it was the Raiders that prevailed on their home court to improve to 5-1 on the season, sending Mount Marty to a 6-2 record.
NW fought through the quick start from the visitors, as the lead changed hands often through the first nine minutes. Senior Christian Korver led the way for a 9-0 run as he drained a three to give NW a two-point lead with 11:11 to go in the first half. Junior Trent Hilbrands followed with another from beyond the arc, and the run was continued with another three from Korver. The Raiders led 35-31 at halftime.
The second half told a similar story as NW’s lead was consistently between five and 10 points. After the Lancers cut the deficit to just three points with 5:56 remaining, aggressive defense and offense stretched the Raider advantage to as much as 20 points. Hilbrands scored 19 of his career-high 36 in the final six minutes to put the finishing touches on a strong team performance.
It was a positive offensive performance overall by NW in a game that saw four Raiders in double-figures. Juniors Isaac Heyer and Jay Small each netted 16 and sophomore Craig Sterk scored 13. Sterk also had 10 rebounds to complete his second double-double in the early season. The Lancers were led in scoring by Chris King, who finished with 23 points. NW shot 50% overall and sank 17 three-pointers, the fourth time this season with at least 13 threes made in a game. NW also capitalized on turnovers, scoring 19 points off of 10 Lancer giveaways.
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, NW traveled to Sioux Center to face the Dordt University Defenders. The Raiders fell to their Sioux County rival 86-68. On Saturday, Nov. 23, the Raiders return to the Bultman to face Jamestown. In the Jimmies’ first year in the GPAC last season, they took both of last season’s games over NW.