The season ended for Northwestern men’s basketball team on Thursday, Feb. 25, as a last-second three-pointer lifted the University of Sioux Falls Cougars over the Raiders, 94-93. The Raiders lost three out of the last four games of the season against higher-ranked teams by only one or two points.
The Raiders held the lead, 91-80 with 2:52 left in the game, but USF, who was ranked 17th in the final NAIA poll, would not surrender. A 5-0 Cougar run cut the deficit to two points. Freshman Ben Miller made a lay-up to give the Raiders a 93-89 lead, but USF fired back with a jumper and the final three-point shot to steal the victory and knock the Raiders out of the play-offs.
NW shot 49 percent in the game compared to USF’s 46 percent. The Raiders outrebounded the Cougars 45-39. Miller scored a career-high 26 points and added seven rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Walker Seim added 21 points and senior Brent Dunkelberger scored 18 points in 15 minutes before fouling out. Senior Ryan Hoogeveen added 12 points and freshman Eli Groenendyk pulled down a career-high eight rebounds. The team finished the season with a 15-15 overall record and 9-9 GPAC record to place seventh.
Freshman Daniel Van Kalsbeek earned post-season honors, being named all-conference first team and the GPAC Freshman of the Year. He was also named NAIA All-American honorable mention. Van Kalsbeek ranked in the top ten in the GPAC in points per game (18.5), rebounding (7) and blocked shots (40). He also shot a team best 54 percent from the field, registered five double-doubles and scored in double figures 27 times in his first season.
Seim was named second-team all-conference, leading the GPAC in three-pointers with 97, three-point percentage with 44 percent and free throw percentage with 90 percent. He ranked seventh in the conference with 17.6 points per game, scoring in double figures 27 times this season, and averaged five rebounds per game.
Miller earned honorable-mention honors, averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Throughout the season, he shot 43 percent from the field, made 20 three-pointers, dished out a team-high 85 assists and scored in double figures 20 times.