On Wednesday night the men’s basketball team flexed their muscles and extended their winning streak to five games, thanks to a suffocating Raider defense that forced visiting Mount Marty to a mere 35 percent from the field.
Leading the way for the Raiders was senior post Stu Goslinga, who chipped in 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior guard Ben Miller nearly reigned in a triple-double with 12 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Junior guard Zack Leeper scored 14 points and senior post Daniel Van Kalsbeek added 12.
In a previous matchup in November, the Raiders were held to only 21 of 51 from the field and 2 of 12 from three-point land by of Mount Marty’s grind-it-out offense that limited the amount of possessions that NW would have.
“We lost a fluke game earlier this year against them and we knew we were not going to let that happen again,” Goslinga said.
Things were different on Wednesday as the Raiders controlled the tempo from the start. NW outscored the Lancers 54-28 in the paint as well as 12-3 in second-chance points.
“Our focus was to completely dominate all aspects of the game,” Goslinga said. “It was obviously nice to get a blowout win, but if we want to make a serious run down at nationals we need to perfect our zone defense and full court pressure.”
On Saturday, NW dismantled GPAC foe Concordia as they went on to win 82-55 at the Bultman Center on Saturday.
With five players in double figures as well as 34 bench points, the win was a collaborative effort on the part of many Raiders. Sophomore forward Levi Ettleman scored a team high 15 points. Senior guard Josh Vander Plaats added 14 by shooting a perfect 5-5 from the field. Ben Miller contributed 12 of his own points. The senior guard also collected seven rebounds and dished out five assists. Freshman guard Joey Habtemariam and senior post Daniel Van Kalsbeek each added 11 points.
“We have come so far as a team and developed so much that we cannot have any letdown games,” Habtemariam said. “We cannot be satisfied with where we are at; we have to stay focused and keep building for where we ultimately want to be as a team.”
NW shot a solid 52 percent from the field as well as 41 percent from three-point land in the contest. Concordia was held to a mere 35 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. The Raiders out-rebounded Concordia 39-30 and outscored them in the paint 36-16.
On Saturday, NW travels to Crete, Neb. for a pivotal conference showdown against Doane, who is second in the conference. A win would give the first place Raiders more breathing room atop the GPAC. Tip-off is at 4 p.m.