When Marquealis Edwards dropped in a layup for two of his 14 first-half points to give Southwestern a 34-20 lead over visiting Northwestern JV Monday night, few would have guessed the drama that would unfold in the game’s final seven seconds.
Having made six 3-point field goals after halftime, Northwestern cut it to one point at 70-69 as Tyler Steeve, freshman from Clarinda, laid in a teammate’s miss with seven seconds left.
With SWCC players guarded closely on the inbounds attempt, guard Patrick Wright lofted a high, long pass downcourt on a runout for point guard Delby Halcomb.
It became a critical Spartan turnover on a scramble for the ball, and Northwestern was able to get a shot off in the lane that bounced off the rim. A putback attempt was also errant, and time expired as the teams scrambled for the ball in the corner.
The 70-69 victory nearly eluded a Spartan team that led for nearly every minute of the game.
“We always feel that if we set up and they’re face-guarding us, if we throw that it’s tough for them,” coach Mike Holmes said. “If he fouls you from behind, a lot of times it’s intentional. We said to Patrick (Wright), if you like it, throw it.
“He threw it kind of high, Delby (Halcomb) had to slow down and kind of juggled it,” Holmes continued. “We had a guy back to disrupt their shot, and disrupted the tip as well, then it was just a scramble off in the corner. I think he made the right decision to throw it, you just need to throw it out lower and out front.”
Northwestern gradually fought back from a 36-25 halftime deficit, cutting it to 39-36 lead on one of three 3-pointers by Keegan Mulder. For the game, Northwestern made 11 3-pointers.
The Spartans then went on a 6-0 run to open it back to 45-36.
Northwestern rallied again to within three, and Marcus Littleton answered for the Spartans with a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Another Raider 3-pointer kept it within three at 62-59 wth 3:30 left. Southwestern went into a delay game to use the shot clock, and converted a key play.
“When we were in the delay, we slipped Q (Marquealis Edwards) off a screen, saw him and hit him,” Holmes said. “That’s just demoralizing. But, to their credit, they kept hanging in there.”
T.J. Buyert made his fourth 3-pointer for Northwestern to give the Raiders their only second half lead at 65-64 with 1:30 remaining. From there, the veteran Spartan squad made clutch plays.
Wright, who went 7-of-8 at the line in the second half, made two free throws to regain the lead at 66-65. Edwards made a defensive rebound on the other end, and after Littleton’s layup rolled off the rim, center Devin Kastrup was on the scene to grab it for a putback to make it 68-65 with :36 left.
Northwestern made two more baskets down the stretch, but Wright was perfect on two more free throws to ward off the Raiders.
“We played a pretty good game on both ends of the floor,” Holmes said. “In the first half they were in that 1-2-2 zone, which is kind of nice for us, because it slows down the tempo and plays to our favor. In the second half they got out of that and went straight man, because I think they wanted to get the ball back a few more times. They’re pretty good. They’re long, and they can all shoot it.”
Although they are 3-1 on the court, Southwestern is officially 2-2 because of a forfeit of the William Penn game. One SWCC player was omitted from the eligibility sheet for the first two games, including a loss to North Central Missouri, so the William Penn victory didn’t count.
On Wednesday the Spartans travel to Division I Marshalltown Community College, which is off to a 5-0 start.
“It will be like a mirror opposite of tonight,” Holmes said. “Everybody is going to attack the rim, board it hard. It’s an opportunity for us. If you go win that game, all of a sudden you have a Division 1 win under your belt.”
NORTHWESTERN JV (69) — Kyle Newendrop 18, T.J. Buyert 17, Ryan Kliegl 10, Keegan Mulder 9, Kade Olson 9, Tyler Steeve 4, Ben Guhl 2. Totals — 25 6-9 69. 3-point goals — 11 (Buyert 4, Mulder 3, Kliegl 2, Olson 2. Team fouls — 14. Fouled out — None.
SOUTHWESTERN (70) — Marquealis Edwards 22, Marcus Littleton 11, Patrick Wright 9, Delby Halcomb 8, Devin Kastrup 8, Jack Harrison 8, Larry Mason 2, Jared Theis 2. Totals — 26 12-16 70. 3-point goals — 5 (Littleton 3, Edwards 2). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.
Northwestern — 25 69
SWCC — 36 70