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Game Time...Northwestern College resumes its season Wednesday night as they play Morningside in a GPAC men's basketball match-up. Tip-off at Allee Gymnasium is scheduled for 8pm. The Red Raiders are in seventh place at the halfway point of the conference schedule, owning a 4-6 league mark and 11-9 overall. Morningside earned votes in the Jan. 21 NAIA D-II coaches' poll and is in fourth place in the GPAC with a 7-3 record, 13-7 overall. Follow the live stats at the following link: Live Stats! or listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 19-14 and is 6-4 over the last 10 games against the Mustangs. Earlier this year, Morningside earned an 88-70 win over the Red Raiders here at the Bultman Center.
Last Time vs Morningside...Northwestern went ice cold from the field over the final 11 minutes as they lost to Morningside 88-70 in a match-up played on Nov. 26 in Orange City, Iowa.
Leading by seven (63-56) with 11 minutes to go after a lay-up by Joey Habtemariam, Northwestern scored just seven more points the rest of the way on two field goals and three free throws. Morningside outscored the hosts 32-7 during the final 11 minutes to earn the win.
Northwestern shot 45% for the game but just 36% in the second half. They were led by Jordan Baker with 12 points and both Habtemariam and Zack Leeper added 11. The Red Raiders held a 37-33 advantage on the glass but committed 17 turnovers compared to just eight for Morningside.
Morningside shot 52% from the field and went 8-for-19 from beyond the arc (42%). Danny Rudeen scored a game-high 18 points while Andrew Christen added 14 points off the bench.
Morningside News and Notes...The Mustangs continued to earn votes in the NAIA D-II basketball coaches' poll, ranked 27th in the nation and earning the second most votes after the top 25 teams. They are in fourth place in the GPAC standings with a 7-3 record, trailing third place Midland by just a half game. Morningside is 13-7 overall and 4-1 over their last five games, losing only to Hastings (80-71) on the road last weekend. They are the only league team to defeat Dordt this season, earning a 100-96 win over the Defenders on Jan. 8 in Sioux City.
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 fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 83 points per game. They are one of the top perimeter shooting teams in the NAIA, making over eight per game and shooting 38% from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Mustangs are giving up 77 points per game and own a +3 edge in rebounding .
Senior Danny Rudeen is one of three Mustang players scoring in double figures, averaging a team-best 20.1 points per game, fourth most in the conference. A two-time, first-team all-GPAC selection, Rudeen is fourth in the GPAC with 51 three-pointers, shooting 46% from beyond the arc. Steve O'Neill averages 12.7 points and has made 37 three-pointers while dishing out 88 assists, second most in the GPAC. Kyle Nikkel, an honorable mention all-GPAC pick last year, averages 12.7 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game. Tanner Miller returns as a starter and scores 9.6 points per game while leading the GPAC with 40 steals.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are currently in seventh place in the GPAC with a 4-6 record, 11-9 overall. They are 3-1 since the new year, earning wins over Buena Vista, Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan while losing to #5 Dordt on the road last week.
Northwestern ranks in the middle of the pack in scoring offense (75ppg), field goal percentage (44%) and three-point percentage (33%-5.9/game). They are the third best rebounding team in the GPAC (+5) and rank second in field goal percentage defense (43%). Northwestern is giving up 75 points per game.
Zack Leeper is the Red Raiders' top scorer, averaging 18 points per game. The senior has scored in double figures in every game this year and leads the team with 36 three-pointers. Leeper, a two-time all-conference pick, pulls down 5.5 rebounds per game. Jordan Baker is having an outstanding freshman year, averaging 13.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Baker is shooting nearly 60% from the field and has four double-doubles this season. Joey Habtemariam (9.3) and Levi Ettleman (6.3) are the other top scorers for NWC.
Up Next...Northwestern will host Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at 4pm.
Junior from Sioux Falls, SD