The No. 7 Northwestern men’s basketball team picked up its first win at Briar Cliff since the 2005-2006 season in overtime on the heroics of senior guard Ben Miller.
The dramatic win gave NW a 1-0 record in the GPAC and 5-1 overall on the young season.
In a game in which no lead was more than seven points, the Chargers best chance to pull away came when they held a 54-47 advantage with 12 minutes left in the second half. The Raiders stopped the bleeding and fought to stay within striking distance.
NW did not find themselves ahead at all in the final 17 minutes of regulation.
Briar Cliff led at 83-80 with five seconds left in regulation. The Raiders had the ball to be inbounded.
Miller caught the pass and drained the 30-foot shot to force overtime.
“I noticed that it looked like it was on line when it was about halfway there,” Miller said. “I was just hoping that it went in. Luckily it went through the net.”
Neither squad had more than a possession advantage in the extra period.
A Charger three-pointer gave the home squad a 93-92 lead with 20 seconds left, and NW had one chance to go for the win.
Coach Kris Korver took a timeout with 2.5 seconds left to set up an inbounds play.
Miller threw the pass into senior guard Josh Vander Plaats, who passed the ball back in to Miller who found his spot on the left side of the lane to make the game-winner.
“We had a couple of other options drawn up that BC took away,” Miller said. “[Vander Plaats] was open, and he had the decision to keep it or pass it.”
Senior Dan Van Kalsbeek dominated the post for a season-high 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting.
Vander Plaats had a career day in netting 16 points.
Miller had 15 points but also contributed as he hauled in eight rebounds to lead the Raiders. Senior post Stu Goslinga also had seven boards of his own.
The Raiders shot poorly in the first half at 41 percent from the floor and 13 percent from beyond the arc. They improved those numbers in the second-half to 51 and 56 percent, respectively.
NW will return to the hardcourt at 4 p.m. Saturday against Midland in Fremont, Neb.