Northwestern men’s basketball snapped its three-game losing streak with 89-76 win over Briar Cliff Wednesday, Jan. 22. The Red Raiders’ record moved to 15-7, 7-5 in conference play, and the team won both the season’s matchups with the Chargers. Briar Cliff fell to 11-11 with a 2-11 record against GPAC opponents.
It was a close, fast-paced game for most of the first half, as the lead flipped back and forth between the two teams for the first eight minutes. A pair of three-pointers from junior Jay Small set up a 13-0 NW run to give the Raiders a 31-20 lead with 10:15 until halftime. The offensive display continued throughout the first half as NW and Briar Cliff shot 55% and 57%, respectively. The Raiders led 53-48 at halftime.
NW stretched the lead to 16 with 8:39 remaining in the contest as redshirt junior Keegan Van Egdom secured an offensive rebound and converted on both of his free throw attempts. The Chargers made a late second-half surge to trim their deficit to six, but the final five minutes belonged to the Raiders. Senior Dalton Moser made a three-pointer and junior Trent Hilbrands completed the and-one after a strong drive into the paint, putting the final touches on an important win for the home team.
The Raiders finished shooting 49% from the field, along with going 9-27 from beyond the arc. They also capitalized on 11 Briar Cliff turnovers, scoring 14 points as a result. NW outrebounded the Chargers 40-30 and the Raiders grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second-chance points. Briar Cliff was led by Jackson Lamb, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds, while Nick Hoyt scored 15. NW was led in scoring by Hilbrands with 26, his ninth game with at least 20 points. Small hit three three-pointers to contribute to his 19 points. Van Egdom recorded his first career double-double, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
With eight games remaining in the regular season, NW is in fifth place in the GPAC standings. Four of the remaining matchups are with opponents who are either ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. The Raiders are currently second in the conference and 17th nationally in scoring offense per game at 87 PPG, along with being seventh in the nation in three-pointers made, averaging 11.41 per game.