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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to Morningside tonight in a key early season GPAC match-up between ranked teams. Tip-off is scheduled for 8pm. Northwestern, ranked 15th in the NAIA preseason poll, is 0-2 in the GPAC and 5-4 overall. Morningside is 1-2 in conference play and 3-4 overall. Watch live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch Now! or follow the live stats at this link: Live Stats!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 19-13 and is 6-4 over the last 10 games against the Mustangs. The teams split their regular season match-ups last season and then Morningside defeated the Red Raiders in the GPAC semifinals.
Scouting Morningside...The Mustangs bring a 1-2 league mark and 3-4 overall record into tonight's match-up against Northwestern. Earning votes in the initial NAIA rating, Morningside was picked to finish fourth in the preseason conference poll. They have wins over William Penn, Clarke and Concordia and have lost to Grand View, Ashford, Midland and Hastings.
Jim Sykes begins his 11th season as the Mustangs head coach, taking over during the 2003-04 season. During his tenure, Sykes has guided Morningside to four, 20+-win seasons, three national championship appearances and three GPAC regular season titles. With the win last weekend over Hastings, Sykes became the winningest coach in the history of the program and has won 64% of his games. He returns four starters and 10 players off a 2012-13 team that tied Doane and Hastings for fourth place in the GPAC. They lost to Dordt in the GPAC final to end the year with an 18-15 record.
Morningside is scoring 83 points per game and is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the NAIA, shooting 43% from beyond the arc. They have made 71 three-pointers this season, making over 10 per game. The Mustangs are third in the GPAC in rebounding (+7) and are giving up 77 points per game.
Senior Danny Rudeen is one of four Mustang players scoring in double figures, averaging a team-best 19.3 points per game. A two-time, first-team all-GPAC selection, Rudeen is fifth in the GPAC with 18 three-pointers, shooting 47% from beyond the arc. Junior guard Tanner Miller scores 14 points per game and has made 17 three-pointers on the year while Steve O'Neill averages 11.6 points and has made 13 three-pointers. Kyle Nikkel, an honorable mention all-GPAC pick last year, averages 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders come into Tuesday night on a two-game win streak, earning wins over #18 Dakota State and AIB last week. They are 0-2 in the GPAC, losing road games to Briar Cliff and Hastings, and 5-4 overall. Northwestern was ranked 15th in the NAIA preseason poll.
Northwestern scores 78 points per game and is shooting 43% from the field. They are among the GPAC leaders in rebounding (+6) and field goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 42% from the field.
Zack Leeper leads a balanced Red Raider offense, scoring 16 points per game. The senior, a two-time all-GPAC pick, has scored in double figures in every game and pulls down 5.4 boards per game. Jordan Baker averages 12.2 points and seven rebounds per game in his first season at Northwestern. The freshman is shooting 57% from the field and has two double-doubles this season. Joey Habtemariam averages 10 points per game and is second in the GPAC with 42 assists. Keegan Mulder is among the best three-point shooters in the GPAC, making 47% of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Up Next...Northwestern will play a pair of non-conference games over the Thanksgiving break at the Dordt Classic. The Red Raiders will play Central (Iowa) on Friday at 6pm and AIB on Saturday at 2pm.
Junior from Sioux Falls, SD