On Wednesday, the men’s basketball team traveled to Yankton, S.D., to battle conference opponent Mount Marty, which currently sits at the bottom of the conference.
Northwestern beat the Lancers 81-67 and moved to 13-10 overall and 6-7 in the conference.
The teams exchanged baskets early in the game, and NW took a 12-6 lead seven minutes into the game. The Lancers battled back though, and went on a 12-0 run to take the lead by six with nine minutes left in the first half. The teams then traded baskets the rest of the half, and the Raiders trailed at halftime 29-24.
NW came out firing in the second half and went on a 7-2 run in less than two and a half minutes to take the lead back, 34-31. The Raiders started to take control of the game on an 11-3 run with less than four minutes in the game and improved their lead to 70-60.
The Lancers scored a few baskets to cut the lead to seven with two minutes left, but the Raiders closed the game on a 9-2 run.
Senior Zack Leeper led the Raiders on the scoring line. He shot 10 of 16 from the field and finished the game with 27 points. Junior Levi Ettleman added 12 points, and sophomore Joey Habtemariam and freshman Isaiah Taylor each scored 11.
Junior Tyler Goldston and freshmen Jordan Baker led the team rebounding with six boards a piece.
After losing two games in a row, the Raiders bounced back on Saturday to beat Nebraska Wesleyan 77-64.
The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead, as they scored the first six points and never looked back. Nebraska Wesleyan closed the half on a 9-4 run to cut NW’s lead to only six points at halftime.
In the second half, the Raiders came out strong and built the lead to 18 points with eight minutes left in the game, but yet again Nebraska Wesleyan battled back to close the lead to six with two minutes left to play. However, NW scored the final seven points to finish the game.
“We just stuck to our game plan, played great defense and contained their leading scorers,” Habtemariam said.
Taylor led NW with a career-high 27 points while shooting 11-13 from the field. Taylor found his stroke from behind the arc and a couple of high percentage shots – slam dunks.
“We had a couple set alley-oop plays that got him going, and he is hard to stop when he is hot,” Habtemariam said.
Leeper finished the game with 19 points and Habtemariam scored 18 to add to the effective scoring performance by the Red Raiders. NW shot 54 percent from the field and shot 62 percent from beyond the arc.
Ettleman led the team rebounding and had a career-high 14 boards.
“It is a big confidence builder, and (this game) gives us some momentum going into the next couple of games,” Ettleman said.
The Raiders will travel to Fremont, Neb., Saturday to play against Midland.