ORANGE CITY, Iowa – The No. 14 Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team looked to defeat No. 19 Northwestern College for the second time in 10 days. However, DWU did not leave Orange City victorious as they fell, 84-65 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament semifinals Saturday afternoon.
With 8:23 remaining in the game and down by nine points, the Tigers (23-9) looked to make a push as they did numerous times throughout the contest. The burst was kick-started by a Jason Spicer (Sioux Falls, S.D.) layup, followed by a Tate Martin (Mitchell, S.D.) free throw moments later. Freshman Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.) knocked in a basket to cut the deficit to 68-62.
The Tigers went dry as the only field goal in the final seven minutes was a 3-pointer by Aaron Ahmadu (Houston, Texas) as DWU fell to the Red Raiders (25-6) for the second time this season.
The rubber match began in the favor of Northwestern as they jumped out to an early 19-9 lead. The Tigers found their rhythm as they went on a 9-2 run to pull within three points.
Northwestern answered with a run of their own as they widened the margin to 31-20. Once again, DWU orchestrated another flurry of points as they went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 34 with 1:20 remaining in the half.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Red Raiders extended their lead to nine points. The Tigers remained within striking distance for the majority of the second half as they never allowed the deficit to grow to double-digits until under five minutes left.
Spicer led all scorers with 29 points, just one point short of tying his career-high and snatched nine rebounds. Trae Vandeberg (Madison, S.D.) added 11 points and 11 boards, good for a double-double while Martin and Hoglund each tallied 10 points. The Tigers shot 40 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line.
DWU awaits the pairings of the NAIA Men's National Basketball Tournament as they will announced Wednesday. The NAIA National Tournament begins on March 8 in Point Lookout, Mo.