Even though the final margin of the game ended up being 19 at 84-65, Southwestern head coach Mike Holmes said he felt his team played one of its best games of the season in Wednesday’s loss to DMACC.
Holmes said that with his team being undersized and less athletic than the 12th-ranked Bears, the Spartans had to find their best opportunities defensively.
“You’re going to have to give something away,” Holmes said. “What we have to give away is skip threes to take away the rim, to take away post players, to take away dribble penetrate guys. We gave them the skip threes, they found them and they made them all night long.”
DMACC knocked down 10 3-pointers in the contest, including three each by Trey Sampson and Jake Guenther.
“In this case, it does not go down to player error,” Holmes said. “Our guys did everything right defensively tonight, we just got beat. Sometimes that’s going to happen. Tonight, they made things we think they’re not going to make on a consistent basis every night.”
Southwestern controlled the tempo of the game and executed its game plan offensively. One of the keys, Holmes said, was limiting turnovers on the offensive end.
Elliott Hamdeed finished with a game-high 24 points, while Jared Theis added 17. Tanner Kellogg scored 10 points to give the Spartans three players in double figures.
Holmes praised Nick Lenhard for handling the ball against DMACC’s fullcourt press during the first half.
“When we’re playing well offensively, it’s because everyone’s clicking,” he said. “We got shots. Mataika (Koyamainavure) inside. Jared made some inside-out plays. Elliott understands shot fakes really well. Guys like Dylan Tucker, he’s our best screener.”
Southwestern took an 11-10 lead on DMACC early in the game after a Hamdeed 3-pointer and spinning shot along the baseline followed by a Koyamainavure bucket.
That was the last lead of the game for the Spartans, though, as Jamar Hurdle got a basket inside plus a free throw with 12:12 left in the first half to put the Bears ahead.
Southwestern briefly cut the DMACC lead to 12 early in the second half on a Lenhard 3-pointer, but never got any closer.
“I’m actually kind of proud of our guys the way they played,” Holmes said. “We just went out and did our stuff. We did it pretty well. They were just better. I’m going to sleep OK tonight, other than I’m disappointed for our guys. We put up 65 points in a game with our pace, we’re going to win more games than we lose.”
The loss drops the Spartans to 8-15 overall and 1-7 in ICCAC Division II play. Meanwhile, 12th-ranked DMACC improves to 22-4 overall and 8-2 in league play.
Southwestern returns to action Saturday at Ellsworth (18-7, 5-4).
DMACC (84) — Jamar Hurdle 6 5-6 17, Bradnon Nazione 6 3-4 16, Jon Fuqua 4 2-4 10, Jake Guenther 3 0-0 9, LeTrell Viser 3 1-2 8, Tyler Steeve3 0-0 8, Elliott DeFreitas 0 4-4 4, Derek Williams 1 0-0 2, Aarias Austin 0 1-2 1. Totals — 29 16-22 84. Team fouls — 10. Fouled out — none.
SOUTHWESTERN (65) — Elliott Hamdeed 8 4-6 24, Jared Theis 7 0-0 17, Tanner Kellogg 3 2-2 10, Mataika Koyamainavure 4 0-0 8, Nick Lenhard 1 0-0 3, Nikola Drobnjak 1 0-0 3. Totals — 24 6-8 65. Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — Koyamainavure.
DMACC — 39 84
SWCC — 25 65