Fresh with a new No. 17 national ranking, the Mount Marty College men’s basketball team avenged an early season lost on Wednesday night, as the Lancers earned the 89-79 victory over the Northwestern Red Raiders at Laddie E. Cimpl Arena.
“Yeah, it’s two very good basketball teams, I thought we did a much better job this game of finding the ball inside the paint area against their zone and then making basketball plays from there,” said MMC head coach Todd Lorensen.
“Last time we got a little complacent. The ball was just kind of passed around on the outside of the arc multiple possessions which lead to tougher shots down the stretch...Tonight we just had a lot better pace, and a lot better ability to make plays earlier in the shot clock and not get stuck settling.”
Northwestern had beaten Mount Marty 99-84 in the conference opener on Nov. 12.
The Lancers quickly got off to a strong start from the three-point line, making three shots from behind the arc, but Red Raiders Guard Jay Small made two three-pointers of his own to hold the Lancers to just an 11-8 lead.
Mount Marty would extend that lead to twelve midway through the half, but the Red Raiders shot well to stay within four points of the Lancers at halftime. Northwestern would then get a strong start in the second half, gaining a 54-42 lead with 16:00 to go in the second half, before a Jailen Billings three-pointer gave the Lancers back the lead.
Jordan Johnson would then make a tough three-pointer, before Chris King would make a step-back three-pointer with 10:41 left in the half to give the Lancers a seven-point lead. Northwestern would continue to play hard however, coming within two points of the Lancers lead. The Red Raiders drove hard to the hoop and were able to create open shots.
Ryan Warren would have the answer, however, draining a wide-open three-pointer to give the Lancers a five point lead under eight minutes to go, and the Lancers kept extending the lead for the rest of the game, dominating the final minutes and avenging their 99-84 loss to the Red Raiders on Nov. 12. And the Lancers are excited about the victory tonight according to Senior Chris King.
“It feels good, especially because we want to move up in the rankings in our conference and this was a big game right here,” King said. “If we would have lost this game we would have been tied, so this is a big game for us.”
“If you look across the league, most nights the home team is the favorite. At their place, they were [victorious], and at our place we were [victorious],” Lorensen said. “We have a two game lead [over Northwestern] with nine games to go.”
Colby Johnson had 24 points for the Lancers, while Jordan Johnson had 21 points and nine rebounds. King would also have 18 points and seven rebounds for the Lancers, who are now 16-4 on the year, and 8-3 in the GPAC. Trent Hilbrands had 18 points for Northwestern and Craig Strek finished with 17 points in the loss.
Now, the NAIA Division II No.17 Lancers will prepare to travel to Hastings College on Saturday, a team they defeated at home 107-105 on Nov. 16. And King believes it is the preparation in practice that will be the key factor for the Lancers
“Coming to practice and going at it and competing when we get there on Saturday,” King said.
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MOUNT MARTY (16-4, 8-3)
Chris King 5-13 5-6 18, Jordan Johnson 8-11 2-2 21, Saba Gvedashvili 2-3 0-0 5, Colby Johnson 10-20 3-4 24, Keegan Savary 0-2 0-0 0, Jailen Billings 3-6 3-3 11, Ryan Warren 1-4 4-6 7, Jonah Larson 1-2 0-0 3, Mitchell Lonneman 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS : 30-61 17-21 89.
NORTHWESTERN (14-7, 6-5)
Craig Sterk 7-11 2-4 17, Trent Hilbrands 7-13 0-0 18, Isaac Heyer 2-7 1-2 6, Jay Small 3-10 2-2 10, Keegan Van Egdom 3-4 2-3 10, Noah Slagter 1-2 0-0 3, Grant DeMeulenaere 2-5 0-1 4, Grant Rohrer 2-3 5-6 9, Christian Korver 1-3 0-0 2. TOTALS: 28-58 12-18 79.
Halftime: Mount Marty 47, Northwestern 43. Three-Pointers: MMC 11-27 (King 3-8, J.Johnson 3-5, Gvedashvili 1-2, C.Johnson 1-6, Savary 0-1, Billings 2-5, Warren 1-3, Larson 1-2), NC 11-27 (Strek 1-2, Hilbrands 4-7, Heyer 1-4, Small 2-6, Van Egdom 2-3, Slagter 1-2, DeMeulenaere 0-1, Korver 0-2). Rebounds: MMC 31 (King 7), NC 34 (Rohrer 8). Assists: MMC 23 (J.Johnson 9), NC 16 (Sterk 3, Small 3, DeMeulenaere 3). Total Fouls: MMC 19, NC 19. Fouled Out: None. Blocked Shots: MMC 1 (Gvedashvili), NC 1 (Sterk). Steals: MMC 11 (King 5), NC 6 (Heyer 2, DeMeulenaere 2). Turnovers: MMC 7, NC 13.