Ian McClanahan, Sports Information Director
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – In a game where they led for 18 seconds, the No. 11 Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team struggled to slow down Northwestern College who shot 60.7% from the field. DWU fell to NWC in the Great Plains Athletic Conference game 86-73 on Wednesday in the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa.
Going down 4-0 early, Jeffrey Schuch (Dell Rapids, S.D.) made consecutive baskets to tie the game. After the Raiders (12-5, 7-5 GPAC) regained the lead momentarily, Koln Oppold (Sioux Falls, S.D.) drained a 3-pointer to give DWU its first lead of the game.
The Raiders answered with a shot from beyond the arc of their own to regain the lead once again on the ensuing possession. Northwestern continued on a 12-0 run to take an 18-7 lead, forcing a DWU timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Sawyer Schultz (Emery, S.D.) made a basket, followed by a Nick Harden 3-pointer to pull the Tigers (13-3, 9-2 GPAC) within single digits. The teams began to find their offensive rhythm as they traded baskets.
With Northwestern leading by 10 points, Oppold began a back-and-forth affair that saw the teams trade baskets for seven-straight possessions. Trailing by eight points with less than five minutes to play in the half, the Tigers concluded the period on a 10-4 run to make it a two-point game at intermission.
The Raiders opened the second half just as DWU finished the first half, beginning on a 10-4 run to force a DWU timeout. Freshman Teegan Evers (Huron, S.D.) found his rhythm as he knocked down a 3-pointer to keep DWU within striking distance.
After Northwestern took a 14-point lead midway through the second frame, the Tigers attempted to mount a comeback as Ace Zorr (Harrisburg, S.D.) converted on a shot. Oppold followed that up with a basket of his own to chip the deficit to 11 points.
However, every time the Tigers began to claw their way back into the game, the Raiders shut the door with a timely basket to close out the game and avoid the season sweep.
Oppold notched a game-high 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, while Evers chipped in 12 points off the bench. The Tigers finished 44.3% from the field, while the Raiders were red hot from the field, shooting 60.7% for the game.
DWU looks to return to the win column with a home bout against conference rival Mount Marty University at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Corn Palace.