The Northwestern men’s basketball team picked up its fifth win in a row on Saturday, Feb. 15 by a score of 76-73.
NW earned win No. 20 on the season to bring their record to 20-8 overall, 12-6 in conference play. Meanwhile, Midland fell to 9-16 overall, 5-13 in the conference.
NW was tied for second place in the GPAC with Dakota Wesleyan ahead of the two schools’ match on Wednesday. Midland is sitting in 10th in the conference. NW has clinched an automatic bid as the host school for the NAIA National Tournament with two games remaining on the schedule.
The Raiders got off to a fast start as the lead stretched to nine with nearly 11 minutes in the first half and maintained that distance for most of the first half.
After going up 20-11 after a 13-4 Raider run, Midland cut the deficit back to five on a pair of free throws by Samuel Mailloux. Subsequently, sophomore center Craig Sterk hit two shots from downtown to answer the Warriors’ efforts. With five minutes remaining in the first half, junior guard Trent Hilbrands knocked down a three-pointer to take a 36-22 lead. However, that was the last field goal NW made in the half, as Midland entered the break on a 9-2 run with the Raiders leading 38-31.
After building up the lead, 54-44, with 13:48 in the second half, the scoring came in bunches for both sides. Within 11 minutes, the Warriors outscored NW 28-18. With the score tied at 72, an inside shot from Sterk gave the Raiders the lead, which was secured by strong defense and a pair of made free throws by sophomore guard Grant DeMeulenaere. Midland had one more chance to tie the game following a made free throw and a forced turnover, but the three-point attempt from Bowen Sandquist was off the mark.
NW was led in scoring by Sterk with 22 points and Grant Rohrer with 18. Jay Small pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who outrebounded their opponent 46-37. NW shot 48% overall and made seven three-pointers while holding Midland to a 37% field goal percentage. The Warriors were led in scoring by Samuel Mailloux with 20 points.
The Raiders then traveled to Mitchell, South Dakota, to play Dakota Wesleyan on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and will return home for the game against Morningside on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.