The Northwestern men’s basketball team fell 89-82 in the GPAC opener against Hastings on Saturday, Nov. 15. NW slips to 4-2 on the season.
The first half of action saw both teams exchanging buckets throughout. After being tied up at 32, a layup by freshman guard Nathan Wedel kick-started a 12-0 run for the Raiders going into the break for a 44-32 lead.
However, Hastings responded with a 15-4 run of their own to open up the second half. NW separated once again following another Wedel layup to put the hosts up 60-50. At the five minute mark, Hastings began hitting three-pointers, and took an 81-70 lead with 1:38 remaining. NW got it back to within one point, but Hastings made clutch free-throws down the stretch to preserve the road victory.
“We weren’t assertive enough,” Wedel said. “We knew what we wanted to do and execute, but we weren’t aggressive enough to get it done.”
Sophomore forward Jordan Baker led the team with 20 points, his second consecutive 20-point outing. Baker also grabbed seven rebounds. Wedel added 17 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor scored 10 points.
The Raiders shot a steady 48 percent for the game, but only 22 percent (4-for-18) from three-point range, compared to a 44 percent from Hastings.
“I don’t think it was necessarily them doing anything different defensively, but just that we had a cold shooting night from three-point,” Wedel said. “We just have to learn from our mistakes and make the corrections. We’ve been working on a lot of defense in practice this week.”
In the second half, Hastings shot 7-for-10 from three-point to mount their comeback victory. On the glass, NW held a dominate 50-29 advantage, including 16 offensive rebounds.
The young NW squad will host Dakota State, a rematch of last week’s buzzer-beating finish, on Saturday, Nov. 22. Tip-off will be at 6 p.m.
“We are trying to exceed expectations,” Wedel said. “We aren’t going to let our youth be used as an excuse for what we want to accomplish this season.”