Spartan men battle against Ellsworth

Published: Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 12:40 a.m. CDT

Down two starters with 14-2 Ellsworth coming to town on Saturday, Southwestern head men’s basketball coach Mike Holmes wasn’t sure what to expect from his team.

The Spartans were without starting guards Larry Mason, who had his wisdom teeth extracted on Friday, and Matt Orchard.

“We actually played very, very well,” Holmes said after his team’s 76-68 loss. “We figured we’d be lucky to be in the game. Sure enough, we were down one at half and really playing competitively on the defensive end and composed on the offensive end.”

The Spartans trailed just 35-34 at halftime. But, Ellsworth extended its lead early in the second half before Southwestern cut it to four points with about 2:30 left in the game.

“We tried to take a charge and got a foul called on us,” Holmes said. “They made a few plays at the end to pull away. Very proud of the kids. Under the circumstances, they performed much better than I would have ever anticipated. Gave us a chance to win against a very good team.”

Nick Lenhard and Tanner Kellogg each made their first career starts for the Spartans. Lenhard scored six points, while Kellogg added eight.

Mataika Koyamainavure led the Spartans with 20 points, while Elliott Hamdeed netted 16.

It proved difficult for the Spartans to stop Ellsworth guard Robert Lee. The NCAA Division I prospect scored 26 points to lead the Panthers.

The loss dropped the Spartans to 7-9 overall and 1-2 in the ICCAC Division II standings. Southwestern returns to action Wednesday at Iowa Central.

ELLSWORTH (76) — Robert Lee 8 6-11 26, Tonnie Collier 5 2-2 16, Sam Bongomin 4 2-2 12, Rakim Jackson 5 2-3 12, Ivan-Donat Milin 2 0-0 5, Justin McFadden 1 1-1 3. Totals — 25 15-21 76. Team fouls — 13. Fouled out  — none.

SOUTHWESTERN (68) — Mataika Koyamainavure 8 4-6 20, Elliott Hamdeed 6 1-2 16, Jared Theis 4 2-2 12, Tanner Kellogg 4 0-0 8, Nick Lenhard 1 4-6 6, Dylan Tucker 2 0-0 4, Nikola Drobnjak 1 0-0 2. Totals — 18 11-16 68. 3-point goals — 5 (Hamdeed 3, Theis 2). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out  — none.

Ellsworth — 35 76

SWCC — 34 68

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