The Northwestern men’s basketball was unable to capitalize on an early 7-0 advantage, as #4 Briar Cliff took the lead using a 10-2 run with 15 minutes left in the first half and never lost it again, winning 94-83 and ending the Red Raiders’ season.
Junior Shane Graves poured in 30 points to lead the Chargers, who capitalized on 20 NW turnovers. Senior Austin Homan added 16 points and six rebounds for the regular-season conference champions and the #1 seed in the GPAC tournament.
Junior Jordan Baker led the hot-shooting Red Raiders with 20 points and seven rebounds while sophomore Colton Kooima and senior Taylor Francis added 14 each, but NW was unable to overcome their turnover plague.
NW rode a 12-0 run to close the gap to 44-41 at the break, but the Chargers used a quick 5-0 spurt to regain some breathing room at the start of the second half before finally pulling away for good around seven minutes left in the game.
The Red Raiders shot 51.6% from the field, but only 31.3% from three-point distance. The Chargers shot only 49.2% from the field, but hit a total of nine three pointers, including seven in the first half alone.
The loss places the Red Raiders’ final record at 15-15 and marks the end of the careers of seniors Taylor Francis, T.J. Buyert and Bryce Moss, leaving behind a core of experienced underclassmen for NW to build on next season.
Raider Women Bow Out
The Mount Marty women’s basketball team used a 28-10 advantage in the paint to oust Northwestern in the first round of the GPAC conference women’s basketball tournament, 75-67.
Senior Alex Kneeland led the #14 Lancers with 32 points and seven rebounds while senior Raquel Sutera added 13 points and 13 rebounds to the scoresheet.
For the Red Raiders, freshman Kassidy De Jong’s 23 points and senior Arianne Gesell’s 15 points and 11 rebounds were unable to overcome the three-point shooting barrage of Kneeland.
NW controlled most of a tight first half, heading into the break leading 39-36. It was the Lancers, however, who took advantage of the paint in the third quarter, to take a 59-57 lead heading into the fourth.
Two quick buckets to open the fourth quarter spurred Mount Marty’s lead to six before De Jong cut it to one for NW with 2:19 left. De Jong’s jumper would be the last points scored for the Red Raiders in the contest.
The loss drops NW’s final record to 15-14 and sees the end of seniors Arianne Gesell, Katy Kuiper, Whitney Vander Maten and Morgan VanDerSloot’s careers.