Schedule note: Senior Day
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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to Hastings in the final game of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tip-off at the Bultman Center is scheduled for 4pm. Northwestern is in eighth place in the GPAC with a 7-12 record, 14-15 overall. Hastings earned votes in the last NAIA coaches poll and is in fourth place in the conference with a 13-6 league record, 19-9 overall. Saturday's game is also senior and parent's day, recognizing the two seniors on this year's roster: Rob Gill and Zack Leeper. All of the parents of the players will also be recognized. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats here: Live Stats!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 30-15 but had its six-game win streak snapped last time out against the Broncos.
Last Time vs Hastings...A late run helped Hastings pull away and defeat Northwestern 90-81 in an early season GPAC match-up played on Nov. 16 in Hastings, Neb.
Both teams held the lead in the first half but, following a 12-2 Broncos' run, Hastings was in front 44-36 at the break. Northwestern fell behind by as much as 13 in the second half but managed a late push that made it a four-point game (77-73) with under five minutes left to go. The Broncos closed on a 13-8 run to win it by 11 in the end.
Northwestern shot 41% from the field and had three players score in double figures, led by Zack Leeper with 16. Joey Habtemariam chipped in 13 and Jordan Baker added 12.
Brady Lollman scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Broncos while Dylan Flinn (14), Jake Hamburger (12) and Zach Lenagh (12) were also in double figures. Hastings ourebounded NWC 44-37 led by Lenagh with nine.
Scouting the Broncos...Hastings has lost three straight and four of its last six games coming into the final weekend of the regular season. They are in fourth place in the GPAC standings (13-6) and will be the fourth seed in the upcoming GPAC tournament. Earning votes in the Feb. 18 poll after being ranked in the top 20 in the previous polls, Hastings is 19-9 on the season. After defeating both Doane and Mount Marty, Hastings has lost to Nebraska Wesleyan, Dakota Wesleyan and Midland.
Bill Gavers, in his first season as the head coach, took over for long-time head coach Lance Creech who resigned last fall. Gavers was a long-time high school coach, spending 22 years at Grand Island Central Catholic where he won 421 games and led his team to 12 state tournaments. He inherits a Hastings team that returns four starters and eight players off last year's team that tied for fourth with an 11-9 record, 20-11 overall.
The Broncos are in the middle of the pack in points (78.5) and field goal percentage (46%) while ranking third in scoring defense (73ppg). They are also second in the league in rebounding (+4) and have made 157 three-pointers this season.
Senior Brady Lollman ranks fourth in the GPAC in scoring, putting in 19.5 points per game. A two-time all-conference selection, Lollman has made 58 three-pointers and is shooting 40% from beyond the arc. Another senior, Jake Hamburger, scores 10.3 points per game and has 42 three-pointers this season. Brett Wells returns as a starter and scores nine points per game and has 48 assists on the year. Hastings has lost two starters, Dylan Flinn and Tobin Reinwald, to season-ending injuries.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have lost four straight games and are currently in eighth place in the GPAC with a 7-12 record, 14-15 overall. They hold a one game lead over Doane for the final spot in the eight-team GPAC Tournament that gets underway next week. With a win or a Doane loss to Briar Cliff, Northwestern clinches the final postseason spot and will play at top-seed Dordt Wednesday night. Since defeating Briar Cliff on Feb. 5, Northwestern has lost to Doane, Dakota Wesleyan, Concordia and Dordt.
Northwestern averages 75 points per game and is shooting 44% from the field. They rank seventh in rebounding (+2) and are giving up 77 points per game.
Zack Leeper ranks fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 18.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The senior and two-time all-conference pick has scored in double figures in every game this season. Jordan Baker averages 12.1 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds per game. The freshman has scored in double figures in his last three games and has four double-doubles this season. Joey Habtemariam scores 10 points per game and is among the GPAC's leaders in assists (101) and steals (40).
Saturday marks the final home game for the two seniors on this year’s roster: Rob Gill and Zack Leeper. Both of these players played an integral part in the Red Raiders winning the GPAC regular season title in 2013 and earning a top four seed at the NAIA D-II men’s basketball championship. The 2013 team ended with a 24-7 overall record. Leeper also was a starter on the 2012 team that won the GPAC postseason title and finished with a 26-7 overall record, losing in the second round at the D-II national championship.
Rob Gill is a senior from Carson, CA who will graduate in May with a degree in Business. Rob was a part of the 2013 GPAC Regular Season Championship Team which helped earn our 19th national tournament appearance in school history. Rob has helped us grow while he has been here at Northwestern. It is my hope NWC has helped him grow as well. We are proud of Rob! We are proud of his efforts earning a four year degree, his efforts out on the basketball floor, and his efforts to establish some quality friendships. We are excited to see all God has in store for Rob and his future. We will pray for Rob to be a man who will be a difference maker in his future family, church, community, and mission field. We believe Rob is being groomed to do this and will do it well!
Rob’s career stats: 39 games played with 15 starts: scored 217 points (5.6 per game), grabbed 119 rebounds (3.1) and dished out 78 assists (2.0).
Zack Leeper is a senior from Adair, IA who will graduate in May with a degree in Exercise Science. Zack was a part of two championship teams at Northwestern and two teams which earned national tournament appearances. Zack will be voted an All-GPAC selection again this season. Zack loves to score the ball and he always plays hard. We are proud of how much Zack has grown from his arrival to now. We are impressed with what Zack has accomplished out on the basketball floor and we look forward to seeing Zack take those lessons from the hardwood into life. We are excited to see all God has in store for Zack as he leans into the future in faith. We will pray for Zack to be and become a man who will be an agent of change wherever God leads him. It will be our prayer to see Zack be a man who will serve his future family, church, community, and mission with a pure heart. We believe Zack is ready to be launched out to be a difference maker for the Kingdom!
Zack’s career stats: 93 games played with 93 starts; scored 1,320 career points, averaging 14.2 per game, ranking 21st all-time; has 416 career rebounds (4.5) and 123 assists (1.3); made 150 three-pointers, shooting 33% from beyond the arc; two-time all-conference player, including second team honors last year; has scored in double figures in 72 games with 14 games of 20-or-more points.
Junior from Sioux Falls, SD