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Spartan men hold on for third win in a row

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 12:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 1:03 a.m. CDT
Graceland freshman Jake Still of Mount Ayr (32) moves against Southwestern's Tanner Kellogg (34) during the Spartans' 74-67 victory here Monday. Still finished with seven points for the Yellowjackets.

It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the Southwestern men’s basketball team did enough good things in order to hold on for its third win in a row, 74-67 over Graceland’s JV team here Monday.

The Spartans held a 35-32 lead at halftime and eventually took a 67-55 lead with 4:48 remaining in the game.

But, Graceland chipped away at the lead and cut it 67-61 with 3:43 remaining.

“Needed some free throws down the stretch, and we actually just needed to make some stops down the stretch,” Southwestern head coach Mike Holmes said. “We weren’t stopping consistently. The final margin got created when we made some good shot challenges and got some rebounds and took control with that.”

With the score 69-65 in favor of Southwestern, the Yellowjackets drew an offensive foul on the Spartans with 1:32 left in the game, but couldn’t convert the free throws.

Jared Theis answered with two free throws of his own and Tanner Kellogg added one to make it 72-67. Theis grabbed a defensive rebound with :22 left and Nick Lenhard sank two free throws to create the final 74-67 score.

Elliott Hamdeed scored 11 points in the first half in helping the Spartans build the lead and finished with a game-high 18. Theis added 14 points to go with his key defensive rebounds down the stretch.

Kellogg scored 13 off the bench for Southwestern, while Mataika Koyamainavure also recorded double figures with 11 points.

“Not terribly pretty, but I mean there were enough good things to win,” Holmes said. “There were some things that obviously need to improve. I just wouldn’t call it a complete game, and I don’t think our guys would, either.”

Holmes said he felt his team made some nice back cuts under pressure from Graceland’s defense, and he was happy with the defensive rotations. Looking inside to the post also helped the Spartans get to the free throw line, where they shot 28-of-39.

“You always want to win,” Holmes said. “That helps ease whatever difficulties you’re having. After this, I’m not going to say this anymore, but I’ve got to remember we’re a very young team. Everything’s kind of a learning experience and if you can learn while you win, that’s a good deal.”

Jake Still of Mount Ayr scored seven points for Graceland. Cody Scroggie of Murray recently joined the Yellowjacket basketball team and will be making the switch from football to basketball permanently, joining high school teammate Austin Halls on the hardwood.

Southwestern, now 3-2 for the season, returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against North Central Missouri, a team that defeated the Spartans 60-56 on Nov. 9.

“That should be a good barometer to see if we have improved like we think we have,” Holmes said. “Another game where we need to be a little more consistent on both ends.”

GRACELAND (67) — Chris Linner 4 4-4 12, Taylor Eoff 2 5-6 10, Taj Ar-Raazaq 1 2-2 4, Nadhir Daughtery 0 4-6 4, Jackson Carr 2 4-5 9, Vencel Tigue 3 0-0 6, Brian Reed 5 3-4 13, Jake Still 3 1-2 7, Carlos Mendoza 1 0-0 2. Totals — 21 23-29 67. 3-point goals — 2 (Eoff 1, Carr 1). Team fouls — 23. Fouled out  — none.

SOUTHWESTERN (74) — Larry Mason 1 2-6 4, Mataika Koyamainavure 4 3-6 11, Elliott Hamdeed 4 9-10 18, Dylan Tucker 1 0-1 2, Nick Lenhard 0 2-2 2, Matt Orchard 3 4-4 10, Jared Theis 4 5-6 14, Tanner Kellogg 5 3-4 13. Totals — 22 28-39 74. 3-point goals — 2 (Hamdeed 1, Theis 1). Team fouls — 21. Fouled out  — Hamdeed.

Graceland JV — 32 67

SWCC — 35 74

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